High Commissioner travels to Egypt

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Kris Janowski to whom quoted text may be attributed at today's press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Ruud Lubbers travels to Cairo on Sunday to meet with Egyptian officials. Mr. Lubbers will also meet Amr Moussa, Secretary General of the Arab League to review and seek ways to further enhance our cooperation.

This visit is part of our efforts to further strengthen links with the Arab world and Egypt. The High Commissioner will meet with Grand Sheikh Mohamed Sayed Tantawy who leads the Al-Azhar Mosque - the world-renowned centre for Islamic study and research. He will also meet His Holiness Pope Shenouda III, the leader of the Orthodox Coptic Christian faith. An important part of Mr. Lubbers' visit to Egypt includes meetings with members of its civil society and with UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Mr. Adel Imam, the Arab world's most famous comedian. Mr. Adel Imam has helped raise public awareness of UNHCR's work throughout the region.

UNHCR has worked closely with the Arab Republic of Egypt since 1954; Egypt acceded to the international refugee instruments in 1981. Egypt hosts more than 90,000 refugees and other persons of concern to UNHCR, including 70,000 Palestinians. The High Commissioner returns to Geneva early Tuesday.