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PM's opening remarks at the Press Briefing in Sharm El Sheikh

July 16, 2009

I will today be concluding my visits to France and Egypt, and returning to India.

As I said before, India's participation as the Guest of Honour at France's National Day was a honour for the people of India, and is a matter of pride for all of us. In my discussions with him, President Sarkozy went out of his way to reaffirm the high priority he attaches to France's relations with India. We discussed the full range of our bilateral cooperation, including counter-terrorism and defence cooperation. President Sarkozy was categorical in his assertion that France is ready for full civil nuclear cooperation with India in all areas, and there were no limits to this cooperation. I look forward to receiving him in India in the near future.

The NAM Summit in Egypt has reaffirmed the Movement's significance in today's context. NAM has evolved into a powerful voice of almost two-thirds of the world's nations. Our voice has been heard with great attention and I believe the views we have articulated have found widespread resonance within the Nonaligned Movement.

The Summit's call for bringing the decision-making processes in the international architecture, including the United Nations and the international financial institutions, in tune with contemporary realities reflects the priority which the world attaches to this issue. I am glad that the Summit has heeded our call to strongly condemn international terrorism and on the need for international cooperation to effectively combat it.

I have complimented President Mubarak on his most successful stewardship of the Summit. We are confident that under Egypt's wise and experienced leadership, the Movement will gain fresh impetus and strength.

On the sidelines of the Summit, I met the Prime Ministers of Bangladesh and Malaysia, the President of Vietnam, and the President of the Palestinian National Authority. Earlier today I called on President Mubarak of Egypt. I hope to meet the Prime Minister of Nepal and President of Sri Lanka later today.

All these countries belong to our immediate and extended neighbourhood. I found a uniform desire among all these countries to further enhance their relations with India. This is a matter of great satisfaction for us. We will reciprocate their friendship to the best of our ability.

I have good discussions with Prime Minister Gilani of Pakistan earlier today. During that meeting we discussed the present condition of India-Pakistan relations, its future potential, and the steps that are necessary to enable us to realize the potential.

We have agreed on a Joint Statement which is available with you.

I return back to India satisfied with my visit and my various interactions with world leaders, which have substantially advanced our national interests.

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