Putin hails Assad ties at talks with Turkiye mend brewing

CAIRO: Turkiye’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu held talks with his Egyptian counterpart in Cairo on Saturday, in the first such visit after a decade of ruptured ties.

Turkey’s top diplomat also said President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi would meet to mark the end of a decade of estrangement between the two countries.

Cavusoglu met with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry for talks on “various aspects” of bilateral relations, said Ahmed Abu Zaid, a spokesman for the Egyptian foreign ministry.

Shoukry said the two sides have found common ground to relaunch political and economic relations to reach “conclusions in the interests of the two countries.”

“The talks were in-depth, transparent, and forthright,” he told a televised joint news conference. “We certainly look forward. We look at everything that can benefit the two countries.”

Cavusoglu spoke about making up for time lost since ambassador-level relations ended in late 2013.

“There is a huge level of untapped potential but unfortunately we have lost those nine years and in order to close this nine-year gap we have to work even harder,” he said.

The Turkish minister added that ties had been eroded “due to the lack of dialogue and misunderstandings.”

Referring to the appointment of ambassadors, Cavusoglu said he was certain diplomatic links would return to “the highest level possible.” He also suggested the possibility of an official meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi of Egypt after Turkiye’s May elections.

Ties between Turkiye and Egypt were severely strained after Egypt’s then-army chief Abdel Fattah El-Sisi led the ouster of Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsy, an ally of Ankara, in 2013. El-Sisi was elected president the following year.

The two countries have also been at odds in recent years over Libya, where they backed opposing factions in an unresolved conflict, and also over maritime borders in the gas-rich Eastern Mediterranean.

Consultations between senior foreign ministry officials in Ankara and Cairo began in 2021, amid a push by Turkiye to ease tensions with Egypt, the UAE, Israel and Saudi Arabia.

As part of that tentative reconciliation, Ankara asked Egyptian opposition TV channels operating in Turkiye to moderate their criticism of Egypt.

Last month, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry visited Turkiye in a show of solidarity after the massive earthquakes that killed more than 50,000 people in Turkiye and Syria.

Last month, Egypt’s government, which has been struggling to manage an acute shortage of foreign currency, said Turkish companies had committed to $500 million in new investments in Egypt.

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