Celebrations have been continuing in Egypt for the second anniversary of the reopening of the Suez Canal.
Celebrations have been continuing in Egypt for the second anniversary of the reopening of the Suez Canal. The country's President, Anwar Sadat, began a three-day tour of the canal area on Sunday (5 June) -- the actual anniversary day. On Tuesday (7 June), he was in Port Said to complete his tour and address a political rally.
SYNOPSIS: Cheering crowds greeted President Sadat as he arrived in Port Said. On Monday (6 June), the President had been at the southern end of the canal near Suez city, to visit a tunnel construction site. The Egyptian leader has called for the construction of three tunnels under the canal as part of a major development programme for the Sinai Desert, to the east. Port Said is the northern gateway to the canal and the site of its administrative headquarters.
The city has been largely reconstructed since suffering severe damage in the 1967 Middle East war.
Canal authorities say that more than 31-thousand ships have used the waterway from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea since the reopening. The Egyptian government is in the process of deepening and widening the canal in order to accommodate big oil tankers. The larger oil companies changed their fleet to supertankers during the eight year closure of the canal to make the journey around the Cape of Good Hope economical. The Egyptians hope to convince the oil companies to use the canal when it has been modernised by the middle of 1980.
The Chairman of the Suez Canal authority, Mashour Ahmed Mashour, said on the reopening anniversary that the world benefits from the canal far more than Egypt itself. He complained that transit tolls are too low. Mr Mashour said that Egypt had not been able to benefit from the increase in shipping that had passed through the waterway in the past year. But he added that Egypt had no plans to make an immediate increase in tolls for passage.