• Kyodo

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Japan has pledged ¥49.4 billion in loans to Egypt to help it build a major museum of antiquities.

The offer of additional low-interest loans for the construction of the Grand Egyptian Museum was announced by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe when he met Sunday with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi in the Chinese city of Hangzhou ahead of this year’s two-day summit of the Group of 20 major economies.

The museum aims to store more than 100,000 ancient artifacts and be the world’s biggest archaeological exhibition site near the pyramids of Giza. It was initially slated to open in 2015 but has faced numerous delays, partly because of funding problems.

El-Sissi, who became president in 2014, made his first visit to Japan last February. Sunday’s meeting was intended to be a follow-up on a set of measures Japan has pledged to help secure stability in the Middle East and further economic development in Egypt, according to Japanese officials.

The president thanked Abe for extending the new loans, in addition to about ¥34.8 billion Japan pledged 10 years ago for the construction, and expressed hope that Cairo will further strengthen cooperation with Tokyo in the areas of energy, education, culture and sports, according to the officials.

The two leaders also discussed anti-terrorism cooperation during the meeting, which lasted about 35 minutes, the officials said.

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