Mubarak wants to boost economic ties with France, Mediterranean Union

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak urged French business leaders to boost their investment and trade partnerships with Egypt, saying Tuesday that tighter economic ties would energize the plan for a Mediterranean Union that France is pushing for. France is on track to become Egypt's No. 1 foreign investor this year with $19 billion placed in the Middle Eastern country so far this year, according to French government figures. Mubarak urged even more. "Do the commercial ties between Egypt and France really match our historic, political and cultural ties?" Mubarak said in a speech at the French employers' federation, MEDEF. France was the No. 4 investor in Egypt in 2007, with €3 billion in investments, behind the US, Britain and the United Arab Emirates. But then French cement group Lafarge bought Egyptian construction company Orascom Cement this year for €8.8 billion.