EIR Seminar in Frankfurt on New Silk Road for Mideast and Africa

March 24, 2016
Helga Zepp-LaRouche presents the keynote address at EIR's seminar in Frankfurt, Germany, March 23, 2016.

The seminar, "Solving the Economic and Refugee Crises with the New Silk Road!" organized by EIR in cooperation with the Consulate General of Ethiopia in Frankfurt, was attended by an audience of 75, consisting of representatives of several diplomatic offices, of subscribers and contacts of EIR in the region, and about 10 Syrians (students as well as refugees waiting for enrollment at universities). Several contacts even came from as far away as Berlin, and cities in Switzerland. Extending over the entire afternoon, the seminar featured presentations by Helga Zepp-LaRouche, chairwoman of the Schiller Institute; Hussein Askary, EIR Arabic Editor, Stockholm; Mehreteab Mulugeta Haile, Consul General Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia; Marcello Vichi, former Director, Foreign Department Bonifica company, author of the Transaqua concept; Andrea Mangano, Vice President, Italian Association of Water Engineers and contributor to the Transaqua outline. The speakers were joined by Mohammed Bila, Lake Chad Basin Commission, and Ulf Sandmark, Schiller Institute Stockholm and Swedish-Syrian Committee for Democracy, for an expanded panel in the second part of the seminar. The seminar was moderated by Claudio Celani of the EIR's European center in Wiesbaden.

In her keynote, Helga Zepp-LaRouche stressed that this would not be an academic seminar but rather a discussion about the fact that in this existential crisis of mankind, shown by the refugee crisis, the wars and the financial crash, solutions are within reach and must be realized now. In the wake of the terror attacks in Brussels yesterday, it is more than appropriate to recall former U.S. Senator Bob Graham's statement of mid-November last year after the terror attacks in Paris then, that had the classified 28 pages of the Joint Congressional Inquiry into 9/11 been made public, such atrocities could and would have been prevented.

It is beyond any doubt that the Russian military intervention in Syria changed the rules of game, that it exposed the role of that pro-IS alliance of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United States, and United Kingdom, and particular that of Turkey, whose policies have been attacked harshly by two former U.S. ambassadors to Ankara. The EU agreement with Turkey on the refugees is a travesty which fits in the general picture of Western and U.S. human rights violations which have just been exposed in a Chinese dossier. Whereas the West is talking about an insanity like "helicopter money" to save its own speculative banks, the Chinese "One Belt, One Road" initiative presents a real-economic offer for a win-win strategy; that is, not just in the interest of China but also of the other nations--and real development only will help to dry out terrorism. Either Europe works with Russia, China, India, Iran, Egypt, and other nations to launch a Marshall Plan for Syria and Africa, or its bankrupt economies will crash against the wall, Mrs. Zepp-LaRouche said.

Hussein Askary from EIR, Arabic translator of "The New Silk Road becomes the World Land-bridge".

Presenting the EIR World Land-Bridge report in its first Arabic translation, Hussein Askary reported that as this seminar was being held in Frankfurt, an event presenting the Arabic report was also taking place in Yemen today under conditions of continued Saudi airstrikes of Yemeni cities. The idea of the New Silk Road is more than just building a few roads and railroads; it is a concept of development corridors improving the life of some 450 million people in the Southwest Asian region, with Syria being at the center. This involves mega-projects of rapid development, financed by national development banks free of the obligation of paying the debt as demanded by the Western monetarist institutions. Like Egypt, Syria will focus on industrial zones, transport corridors and agricultural development, with China showing the way with its massive infrastructural engagement for instance in East Africa.

The Ethiopian Consul-General followed with a presentation on the economic strategy of his country, characterized by policies that have greatly improved the per-capita income, literacy rate, and public health care since the 1990s. With an envisaged annual GDP growth of 11%, Ethiopia wants to become a middle-income level country by 2025, made possible by opportunities for Ethiopians to set up a farm or shop at the price that many pay today to human traffickers to be brought to Europe as refugees. Ethiopia, itself, is the largest refugee host in Africa, with 800,000 refugees from South Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea taken in--a fact that nobody in Europe talks about. Ethiopia will be transformed from a primary-products exporter to a nation with high-value production and infrastructure, and the country's cooperation with Russia, China, India, and Brazil in rail projects is important in this context.

Marcello Vichi reviews the 35 year history of the Transaqua Project.

Marcello Vichi then gave a review of the history of the Transaqua Project discussion during the past 35 years, from the first proposals presented by Italy's Bonifica company 1982-1985, to African governments as well as the United Nations, pointing to a transfer of water from the giant Congo River as the only viable option for refilling Lake Chad. The proposal has largely been met with disinterest or pessimism as to the chance of its realization, has been discarded as allegedly "megalomaniac," but the recent refugee streams have made Europe rethink its views, and Transaqua, which has always been more than just water for Chad -- rather the broader framework for the development of entire Central Africa -- is the only option that can attract the young generation of African labor force not to become refugees.

Marcello Vichi introducing Andrea Mangano as a leading proponent of the Transaqua project.

Andrea Mangano then gave an overview of what Lake Chad was 35 years ago and what it is now, with 90% of its water lost. It shares the problem with other evaporating inland lakes in the world that are no longer supplied by their traditional tributaries--the Aral Sea, Lake Urmia, Lake Turikana, the Dead Sea. The only thing that improves the situation is water transfer and reduced consumption by irrigation via new technologies. This is done by Transaqua, which will tap 5% of the water from the upper tributaries of the Congo River, which is otherwise flowing away unused into the Atlantic Ocean at volumes 14 times the water of Germany's biggest river, the Rhine. Refilling the lake will be done with infrastructure construction that will give the entirety of Central Africa hydropower, irrigation for agriculture, and waterway transport, and relieve the region from its present land-locked situation.

Mohammed Bila elaborated on the Transaqua issue in the expanded panel, pointing to the big and ongoing migration wave southwards from Chad, since the huge drought of 1973 during which the Lake Chad already lost 40% of its water. The farmers and their cattle that have migrated to the south, will not return to Chad unless the lake is refilling, and unless the terrorist movement of Boko Haram has been crushed.

Ulf Sandmark reported on his two visits to Syria in 2014 and 2015, during which it became evident that the reconstruction of Syria actually implies the development of the entire Southwest Asia region, making it an integral part of the New Silk Road--to which he found the Syrians open-minded, and when the "Phoenix" reconstruction plan drafted back in Stockholm was presented to the Syrians during the second visit, it received broad coverage in the country's media.

Claudio Celani (left), Helga Zepp-LaRouche and Marcello Vichi, March 23, 2016.

The discussion between the audience and the panelists featured more aspects of what was said in the presentations, ranging from the genocidal tradition of the British Empire which has sabotaged real development in Africa and Mideast, the hopelessness of the monetarist system, and the increased threat of a thermonuclear world war if the chance of changing course in the direction of cooperation with the New Silk Road is not taken by Europe and the United States; that it is a race of time to enter a new paradigm before the total collapse destroys everything. Also, that contrary to Western black propaganda, China is not engaged in Ethiopia for raw materials, since Ethiopia has none, but instead is a real partner for development. Zepp-LaRouche repeatedly insisted during the discussion that the participants of this Frankfurt seminar take home with them the commitment to set fire to the behinds of the policy-makers to get things fundamentally changed, that a real mass movement for development has to be created. Vichi made a passionate appeal to be optimistic as a must for people so that things can be changed. A new and creative image of man, as it was developed in the great Italian Renaissance, is required also today, Celani pointed out. Sandmark also insisted that the New Silk Road is not just for engineers but for everyone to study at more seminars and chapter meetings. The first chapter meeting on the Arabic language report in Yemen today was actually being presided over by the leading poet of that country, Askary added.

Read the "World Land-bridge Report"



Helga Zepp-LaRouche Keynote address to EIR Seminar, March 23, 2016

Unproofed draft

I welcome you and obviously, while this seminar is devoted to solutions to the world's urgent problems, naturally the dramatic events require that I address them very briefly. And I want to just say, while I'm touching on these different existential threats to our civilization, the solutions are within reach and entirely depend on our actions. So this is not an academic seminar, but really a call to move to implement what we will present over the course of the afternoon.

Now, I think one can say that we have an existential, civilizational crisis. If you look at all the different crisis spots and different subjects -- refugees crisis, financial crisis, war danger, cultural crisis, at least in the trans-Atlantic world, one can actually say that the human species is being tested: Are we morally fit to survive? Are we intellectually able to grasp and seize the solutions which exist? Or are we doomed to continue on the present course which is heading towards disaster.

Now, obviously, it is important to correct some of the readings, how developments are being presented in the public domain. And let me just touch on, very briefly, what happened in Brussels yesterday, which obviously concerns everybody -- the threat of terrorism, -- which is now being portrayed by the official governments that we have to give up data security, that we have to have more centralization, we have to give up freedoms. And I would counter that with the statement that when the attack on Charlie Hebdo happened more than a year ago in Paris, the former head of the 9/11 commission of the U.S. Senate, Sen. Bob Graham [d-fl], said, if the famous [classified] 28 pages concerning the role of Saudi Arabia in the original September 11th attack would have been published, this Charlie Hebdo terrorism would not have happened.

Now, obviously, you cannot discuss what happened in Brussels and the threat of terrorism without looking at the role of Saudi Arabia and Qatar pushing Wahhabi Salafism; and naturally, the fact that Turkey is up to the present day, buying oil from ISIS, is supporting ISIS with weapons and equipment; and the spokesman of the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova, just said yesterday that the double standard concerning terrorism has to stop. That you cannot support terrorism on one part of the globe and no expect it to appear in other parts of the globe. Now, just to give you one example, on 15th March, a couple of days ago, the Saudi-led coalition bombed a marketplace in Mustaba, in the north of Yemen which caused 120 people to be killed, among them 20 children and 80 wounded, and this was not mentioned at all in the Western media. So, these people are as much human beings as the people in Brussels.

Now, also, in light of what I just said, the fact that the EU is putting all their eggs on the deal with Turkey to solve the refugee crisis is completely ludicrous. Even the former neo-con ambassadors of the United States to Turkey, Eric Edelman and Morton Abramowitz, who both were ambassadors in Turkey, said that the Erdogan government does not function, that it's an authoritarian regime, economically collapsing, and conducting civil war against their own population, namely the Kurds.

So therefore, if the EU says, we have to solve the refugee crisis, with a deal with that government, when the UN High Commissioner already said that the mass deportation of refugees now going on, from Greece to Turkey is illegal. And also it does not function, because the day 1, after this agreement went into effect, 1,662 refugees landed in Greece seeking new routes, new islands, and especially the [inaudible 7:47] population of refugees is very afraid of being sent back into the arms of ISIS.

Now, the UN Human Rights Commission and the Doctors Without Borders in protest have stopped their working with the refugees, because they say this is untenable, this does not work. The UN Human Rights Commission also said that the so-called hot spots, which are supposed to solve the refugee crisis according to the EU, have been turned in detention camps. Families are not allowed to leave their home, and they have de facto been turned into prisons.

Now the United Left of Spain is pursuing a criminal suit against Prime Minister Rajoy because of condoning the EU-Turkey agreement, saying this is an omission of help, this is deportation of human beings who have the right to be at least checked whether they have the right for asylum, and you cannot just deport them like that.

So other media, as in Hungary, which is being attacked by the EU, they say, "what happened to the humanistic rights or values of the European Union?"

Now, our President Joachim Gauck is presently on a tour to China, where he brings up human rights violations in China. And this would be a farce, if it were not so tragic for the people who are the victims of the EU policy.

Now, let me just say this on China: China in response to the accusations of human rights violations, issued their own report on human rights violations in the United States, going into the continuous wars in the Middle East based on lies, the drone killings, and saying this is ridiculous that the United States is still play the role of the judge in the human rights case, in light of all of this.

Now, China, in turn, has uplifted 900 million people out of poverty. In my book they have done more for human rights than anybody who is accusing them of violating human rights, because if you look at the EU and the United States in turn, where the rate of poor people is increasing all the time; in the United States it's 50 million and rising; and one element of the new Five-Year Plan of China is to alleviate poverty in China by the year 2020, and worldwide by 2025.

So therefore, one needs to have a different view than that which is being presented by the media.

Now, let's look at a second "spin" and big lie: There is the big story that China would be responsible for the financial turmoil in the markets, that the Chinese economy would be collapsing, that the New Silk Road would be a flop. Now, look at the situation in Europe: The ECB chief Mario Draghi not only set the interest rate at zero, negative interest rate for banks who want to park money in the ECB; but he is now openly talking about "helicopter money." You know, "helicopter money" means to just throw money out helicopters to flood the markets with liquidity, and even Otmar Issing, who is a staunch monetarist to my knowledge, the former chief economist of the ECB, said "this is a devastating idea; a central bank which is giving out money for free is hardly able to ever regain control of the markets. This is total mental disarray."

Now, fortunately, the lifeboat for the sinking Titanic of the European and U.S. economy is already there, in the form of the New Silk Road offer of China, the "One Belt, One Road" policy. This was proposed by Xi Jinping two years ago, in Kazakhstan, and since then has taken a dramatic development. There are now over 70 nations which have expressed concrete interest to cooperate with the Silk Road and over 30 countries have signed very concrete agreements on many, many projects.

The New Silk Road, which the Schiller Institute has been campaigning for, for 25 years, as our answer to the collapse of the Soviet Union, is a completely different model. It's based on what President Xi Jinping called "win-win" policy: that countries cooperate on joint projects on the basis of mutual interest, of complete respect for the sovereignty of the other nation, and naturally, China is pursuing its own interest, but it is also providing what is in the interest of the participating countries.

Now, Foreign Minister Wang Yi just recently said "the New Silk Road is China's idea, but it creates opportunities for the whole world." And it is definitely the new model of relations among all countries. Now, presently, the Chinese intra-Asian trade is progressing with high growth rates. However, the relations with Europe and the United States is suffering, not because of China, but because of the economic and financial turmoil within the EU and in the United States. But the Chinese leadership response to that is to turn a crisis into an opportunity, by pushing the internal Chinese economy into the next qualitative leap by innovating and creating new industries, upgrading the technological level of the labor force, and, at the just-concluded National People's Congress, where they presented the 13th Five Year Plan, Prime Minister Li Keqiang used the word "innovation" 61 times in his speech. He said, the aim is to turn China from a trader of quantity to a trader of quality, to basically make it a knowledge-intensive economy. And if you look, for example, one of the export flagships of the Chinese, is the high-speed rail, where China has built 125 km of normal railroad, but about 20,000 km of fast train; they want to have 50,000 km by the year 2025, connecting every major city in China with a fast train system.

And I can tell you, I was travelling with fast trains in various ways in China: These trains go about 310 km/hr, they are very smooth, they don't shake, you don't hear anything. It's an excellent technology and it's one of the export flagships of China.

So this concept of building the One Belt, One Road which in Asia is also being called the "Asian Connectivity" is very, very attractive. It basically means, it's very high technology. Wu Ji who is the director of the CAS National Space Science Center, just said "space science is inseparable from China's innovation-driven development. If China wants to be a strong global nation, it must not only care about its own immediate interests, it must also contribute to humankind. Only in this way can China have real respect in the world."

Now, how advanced the Chinese space program is, for example, you can see by the fact that next year, the next lunar mission of China will go to the far side of the Moon, which means that landers and rovers will land there, which has never been done by mankind and the far side of the Moon will give a new window into space, because, free of the noise from the Earth and radiation you can develop much, much better understanding about what is going on in the nearby universe, in a very concrete way.

Now, China is doing everything right — I'm not saying everything, but many, many things right, by simply doing what Germany used to do when Germany was progressing. Shang Fulin, the chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission, at this recent occasion just said, China will from now on tax monetary speculative transactions with what you would call here a "Tobin tax"; they will promote small and medium-size industries; they will further the savings banks to give credit to these small industries which is what the Germany Mittelstand used to be and what made Germany prosperous. And basically, Li Keqiang also said "it is the top priority of the financial sector to support the development of the real economy," as compared, and that is now my words, to the money-printing of Mario Draghi for speculative purposes alone.

Now, just two weeks or 10 days ago, I just returned from a big conference in New Delhi, the Raisina Dialogue, which is now going to be an annual conference organized by the Indian government, and there, I can assure you that many speakers from Asian countries, acting foreign ministers, former presidents, leaders of leading institutions, they all want to integrate with the One Belt, One Road policy, because they have recognized what the New Silk Road means for countries like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Afghanistan, means that they can import the Chinese economic development model and repeat what China did in terms of the very rapid economic development they have undergone, in the last 40 years, but especially in the last 25 years.

Now, the Schiller Institute proposed already some years ago, namely in 2012, that the only way how you stop terrorism and how you stop, now in the last year, the refugee crisis, is by bringing development to Southwest Asia, to Africa. Because only if you have a comprehensive development program for those countries which have been destroyed by wars or a lack of development as in the case of Africa, only if you apply the method of the New Silk Road to the Middle East, to Africa, that you can solve these problems. And this is now on the table.

I think with the visit of President Xi Jinping to Tehran four or five weeks ago, where he presented the New Silk Road, and shortly after his visit, the first Silk Road train arrived from Yiwu, in China, to Tehran, with I think 32 containers and Xi Jinping said that the New Silk Road is a concept to be expanded in the entire Southwest Asian region. Immediately President Rouhani from Iran said that Iran wants to cooperate. At this conference in New Delhi where I was, former Afghan President Karzai said Afghanistan must become the hub of the New Silk Road connecting Asia and Europe, and other leading speakers spoke to the same effect.

Now, I want to say, and you will hear about this from other speakers, I suppose, that the only way how we will get out of this crisis, is that we develop the Middle East together with Russia, China, India, Iran, Egypt, and other countries of the region, and that we get Germany, France, Italy, the United States and all other countries to cooperate in what I would call a "Marshall Plan Silk Road perspective for the Middle East and Africa." I only mention "Marshall Plan" not because it's meant to be a Cold War instrument like the Marshall Plan was, but because it reminds people in Europe that you can reconstruct countries which have been destroyed by war, with economic development; and that is the only way how we stop the refugee crisis, because only if you give an incentive for people to rebuild their own home countries and you give young people a perspective of hope, to become a doctor, a scientist, a teacher, that you can dry out terrorism. And that is the concrete plan that is now on the table. And either we can get European institutions to go for this alternative, or we will crash against the wall.

So that is what I want to say initially.

Hussein Askary speech to EIR Seminar, March 23, 2016

My name is Hussein Askary; I am a member of the Schiller Institute and Executive Intelligence Review, which are organizing this seminar. I came back from Egypt two days ago from a one-week visit there, to launch the Arabic translation of the EIR Special Report "The New Silk Road Becomes the World Land-Bridge." I personally, and other people, we decided that Egypt should be the place from which to launch the Arabic translation of this massive global development idea, because of the importance of Egypt. Egypt is the most important Arab country, but it's also one of the important countries in Africa. And the idea of the report and joining the Silk Road was actually highly welcomed by the highest levels of the Egyptian government. Because they realize now that this is the only solution for the deep economic crisis in Egypt, but also in the whole Southwest Asia, so-called Middle East, and Africa, by joining forces with China and the BRICS countries to develop their countries internally and utilize the connection to the world economy and the development dynamic which was launched by China with the idea of the New Silk Road.

Now, Helga mentioned the Saudi bombardment of Yemen today. Today, at this moment, there is a similar seminar in the capital of Yemen, in Sana'a, by a group of the Yemeni experts and patriots to launch also the Arabic translation; they printed the Arabic version. And the seminar is headed by one of the best modern Yemeni poets, Abdulaziz Al-Maqaleh; and it's organized by our friend, Fouad al-Ghaffari. Right under Saudi bombardment, they established a committee for coordination with the BRICS, and now they are promoting the idea of the New Silk Road and how Yemen will benefit from this. Right under Saudi bombardment, actually. [applause]

These [Fig. 1] are some of the ideas which I presented in Egypt for people there. The launching was sponsored by the Egyptian Transport Ministry with the presence of the Minister of Transport, Saad el-Geyoushi himself. But I was telling people, our idea is not to build the New Silk Road; we presented the idea of the New Silk Road 25 years ago, as Helga has said, and China adopted it as its policy. Our idea is to go from the New Silk Road to the World Land-Bridge; where we connect Africa and the Americas to the Eurasian Land-Bridge. So that's the concept; and red lines are where we have a deficit in infrastructure and deficit in developments. So this is what is missing in the global map, but also a lot is missing in the Americas; even in North America and Europe right now. But this is the new concept; it is not simply the New Silk Road, it is the World Land-Bridge. We can unite all nations of the world around one concept of economic development and cooperation.

So, I had the honor to be in the Schiller Institute and EIR in 1996 when the first Eurasian Land-Bridge/New Silk Road [was conceived]. I worked with Helga and others; I was still a young man. But the idea was a complete transformation. The reason I joined the Schiller Institute in 1994 is, I was living in Norway and the Schiller Institute came to Oslo where Arafat and Rabin and Peres were meeting; and the Schiller Institute people said, "Look, if you don't develop the economy of the Palestinians, the Jordanians, the Lebanese, and the Israelis, there will be no peace." And I immediately joined; because that's the right concept. Because we have problems in the Middle East and Africa where people say the problem is the regime; if we get rid of the regime, everything will become good. So, we need to change the policy and then the economy will solve itself. But that's a complete lie. So, this is what Europe and the United States are pushing.

So the concept now, even in Egypt, people completely get the idea that the question of the New Silk Road is not trade; it's not moving goods from A to B. The idea is to build development corridors, to develop all the areas between A and B; that's the concept. And this idea of a development corridor, all these lines should be 100-150 km wide, with transport, energy, electricity, oil and gas, water, and building new agricultural and industrial centers.

Mr. Lyndon LaRouche in 2002 was in Abu Dhabi, in a conference about oil and gas; and they were four oil ministers [Fig. 2]. This is the oil minister of the United Arab Emirates. And Mr. LaRouche shocked everybody by saying the Gulf countries should gradually stop exporting raw oil; they should use the oil as an industrial material for petrochemicals, chemicals, plastics and everything. Where the value of one barrel of oil transformed into an industrial product would be many, many times higher than selling it as raw oil or burning it. And Mr. LaRouche said, "You should utilize your position as a crossroads of the world."

And this is exactly the point which we are trying to promote in Southwest Asia, I mean, this is a unique area. There is no other place on Earth which has the unique characteristics of the region in this zone. It's between three continents; it has more than two-thirds of the world's oil and gas reserves. But more importantly, it has more than 450 million people; most of them are under the age of 30. So, they have the whole future in front of them. They also have natural resources. But also these are old nations with very, very ancient cultures: Egypt; Ethiopia; Iran; Iraq; Syria. These are people who have a very clear idea of their culture and their civilization; and they know that scientific development comes from development is the way forward.

But all the advantages of this region have been turned into disadvantages; because it has become the center of global conflict and proxy wars. Even in this region, which in the Arabic report, we propose the establishment of an Arabic Infrastructure Investment Bank, where the nations of the region, in the Gulf countries, not only is there oil; there is the sovereign funds of the Gulf countries, are about $2.5-3 trillion these countries have in hard currency funds. But it's being used in financial markets, real estate markets in London, in Switzerland, in New York, and so on and so forth. But they should establish a joint development bank like the Chinese did with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. So, this region has unique capabilities of being very quickly economically transformed; but should utilize the idea of the New Silk Road.

Helga referred to the visit by President Xi Jinping in January to Egypt, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. Iran and Saudi Arabia were about to enter into a real war, actually at the moment; and the Chinese intervened with the idea of the New Silk Road. And this was not a warning, but they said, "What the hell are you doing? You are going to destroy the world economy? This is not the way to do things, with crazy religious conflicts. You should work together. We will help you to build your countries, but also help you to work together for development."

So this being made, like in Egypt, the idea of the Silk Road, everybody was saying, "Oh, the Silk Road will compete with the Suez Canal traffic," for many, many years. So, the New Silk Road was completely blacked out in the Egyptian political and media circles. But now, President Xi Jinping brought back the idea of the New Silk Road as actually beneficial for Egypt; which we can explain quickly.

We have in the Arabic version of the report, we have the plan for the reconstruction of Syria. As I said, as Helga said, there will be no peace, there will be no end to terrorism, there will be no end for political oppression, unless we develop this region. And therefore, Syria, ironically, could be the perfect place to start to establish, to practice the new economic ideas which we have designed in this report; utilizing Syria's position as a crossroads with Africa, Europe, and Asia. But also, being a nation which is just coming out of war, they actually have no obligation to listen to either the IMF, the World Bank, the EU, the U.S., or anybody! They can establish their own development bank and issue their own credit. They are not obliged to pay any debt at the moment; and this puts Syria in a perfect position to start to launch a completely new economic policy. And from Syria, you can actually project that idea into many other nations; when you succeed, many other nations will do it, too.

So, we're not going to go through too many details, because we're short on time, but in Egypt we have also the Egyptian model could become a model; because Egypt is a very important nation. And with President el-Sisi coming to power, Egypt has transformed its identity of itself and what it should do to solve 30 years' of accumulation of economic and social problems. But they are in a conflict to do small solutions here and there, or go for the big change; and I think the Egyptian Presidency and leadership -- as I have understood it -- they are going for the big change. Not to solve with small projects here and there, NGOs, EU donations, so on and so forth.

So, the idea is they will focus on mega-projects like the new Suez Canal, which they built in one year instead of eight years; they will build up new agro-industrial zones in the desert, reclaiming the desert of Egypt for demographic expansion. They will use high technology; now they have an agreement to build nuclear power plants with Russia, which will start the first nuclear power plant. But also high-speed railways and so on. So, they will not start from zero; they will start from where China and other nations have reached, and utilize that technology, rather than starting from scratch. And the idea of internal financing: The new Suez Canal was built by the Egyptian people mobilized by their government to internally raise the money -- $8 billion to finish the project in one year. The same way Ethiopia is doing with these dam projects; the Millennium Dam and other work of development projects, which is the correct idea. But it's still there is a conflict on to how to proceed with the other projects; whether it will be done by Egyptian financing, or we should need foreign investment, or loans from the IMF and World Bank. So, there is still a conflict inside Egypt as to which way to go; but they have the right idea.

And of course, utilizing Egypt's position between Asia, the Arab world, and Africa, is actually now on the agenda; especially after my visit.

So, this is a disastrous demographic map [Fig. 3] of Egypt; 90 million people; 95% of the people live on only 5% of the land; and 95% of the land is empty. And the United States spends billions of dollars to reduce the population of Egypt by family planning programs, by this and that, but there was no idea to open new areas for the population to live in! They said the solution is to reduce the population of Egypt. And this is what the IMF, the World Bank, the UN, and the United States were pushing billions and billions of dollars to do; rather than building new development projects.

But the Egyptians have a different idea. These are some of the main projects they are having [Fig. 4], like the new Suez Canal; and they are building an industrial zone around the Suez Canal and using it as a development corridor for all of the Sinai, but also the eastern part, east of Cairo of Egypt have new industries. We added to the concept which now the Egyptian Transport Minister himself said, "We're going to do the extension to Africa; we're going to do the extension to North Africa. And we will have to think now about connecting to the Arabian Peninsula. And also develop the areas on these lines."

This [Fig. 5] is an idea which is presented by an Egyptian scientist, Dr. Farouk el-Baz, who worked in NASA to build a parallel line to the Nile and move the concentration of the population from the Nile Valley to the new Nile Valley. By building railroads and roads and connecting them to the major cities. I added the green zones where the Egyptian government is intending to reclaim 4 million hectares of land, and give it young people and companies to settle there. They build houses for them, they build the infrastructure, and they give them a loan for the first three years so they can grow food and other small industries. So, the development corridor should be a bit further into the desert, so you can transform the demographics and economic situation in Egypt.

And then comes the idea of connecting Egypt to Africa [Fig. 6]. There are projects which have been on the drawing board since the 1970s in the Lagos Plan, for example; but nobody did anything to build them. So, now the Egyptian government and the South African government are intending that, from south and north to support the idea of connecting all of East Africa from north to south; the Cairo-Cape Town Railway. Now, this is being considered actively. It of course intersects Ethiopia, Sudan, the landlocked countries, into Kenya which is not landlocked; but Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Eastern Congo, and so on; all these nations to be connected to new transport, to find outlets into international markets.

Then the Nile River and the other rivers in Africa could be connected together [Fig. 7] to have a river transport corridor from the north to the south; like the Rhine-Main-Danube are connected now, and you can have transportation from East Europe and Western Europe. So, the concept is the same.

We have our friend, an engineer in Egypt, who has developed the concept of building the Africa Pass he calls it [Fig. 8], which goes close to the Libyan border. It is complete desert today, but there are enormous water resources there, there is fertile land; and there is no reason why that part of Egypt is not being developed. Attempt to build outlets for the nations in the Great Lake region, for both exports and imports of goods and technology; and open up that whole region for development. There is also, I think, a connect from east to west; from the Port Sudan in Sudan, or Djibouti, to Dakar in Senegal. To connect all this Sahel region with modern infrastructure. This idea is supported by the Organization of Islamic Conference, but no financing has been forwarded to it.

Now, China comes into the picture, and transforms the situation. They say, OK, this is an enormous economic development potential; it's rich with raw materials. It has also large populations, agriculture, every aspect you can develop that region, but it lacks infrastructure. So the Chinese have offered to build these transport corridors from the ports in Mombasa and Lambu on the Indian Ocean, and open up all these landlocked countries. Ethiopia, South Sudan, Congo, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi. These nations only need to develop infrastructure and educate the labor force. The Chinese are even training the Ugandan Army to turn it into an Army Corps of Engineers; so instead of beating the people or shooting the people, they can build the railways!

And then you have the Trans-Aqua project, which I will not go through so much. Dr. Vichi is the person who thought that. But this is the kind of concept I was presenting this in Egypt to say the time of mega-projects is back. The Chinese have proven it; you can build these massive major infrastructure and development projects which have been undermined by the West, saying these mega-projects are romantic ideas. A military dictator wants to become famous in history, he will build a huge football stadium and call it "President So-and-So" Stadium. But they use the same thing with mega-projects; mega-projects are back now on the map, and all these have potential to be implemented. This is the idea to save Lake Chad.

And then, Africa could be transformed from the colonial system to the modern sovereign, community of sovereign nations system.

So, this is just the video report [Fig. 9]; this is the Transportation Minister of Egypt, Dr. Saad El-Geyoushi; he personally said "I have to present this report to the Egyptian people." But he also announced for the first time in this press conference, that Egypt is intending to invest EGP1 trillion Egyptian pounds, which is about $100 billion in the next 14 years, on roads and railways and logistic centers. He also announced that Egypt is discussing with other nations in Africa, building a 50,000 km network of roads and railways; which is under negotiation. This was information coming out for the first time. But he said, "Our intention is to integrate Egypt's vision," they have a plan for 2030, "we will integrate our internal development with the idea of the New Silk Road." So, there are clear intentions.

Then, we were invited to this Suez Canal Authority [Fig. 10]; this is Adm. Mohab Mamish. He's the man who -- he is a military general in the marine -- he's a close friend of President el-Sisi; and he was the general who made sure that the new Suez Canal was dug in just one year, as the President had ordered, to prove to the world that Egyptians can do these massive projects. They can raise the money for them; they can build them. Of course, they got technical help from other countries, but the concept is that Egypt can do these things, but they need support.

We were also taken on a boat trip in the new Suez Canal; but the idea that they welcomed this idea very, very much. It's not the first time they have heard about it, but it's the first time they hear, and see a concept which they themselves had in their minds; but they never believed it could become a reality on a global scale. So, when we presented the idea of the New Silk Road, what the Chinese are doing, what the BRICS nations are doing, and what the Egyptians themselves can do; then the whole situation is transformed. We had four or five seminars; we had seminars every day -- on TV events. But the gentleman there [Fig. 11] is the former Prime Minister of Egypt, Essam Sharaf; he said "I was just in China, and I'm very, very happy to see this idea here in Egypt." He was surprised, and he said, "This is the right way for Egypt to go. We have to study this and implement this, because we have for 30 years not done enough for the development of Egypt."

Also we had other seminars, but I think I should stop here. Thank you very much.