Egypt | Foreign Minister visits Turkey and Syria after a decade
Defence Redefined
Published on 27/02/2023 at 14:20

Egypt’s Foreign Minister, Sameh Shoukry, is visiting Syria and Turkey, two countries with which Cairo has had frosty diplomatic relations for a decade.

This visit “is a message of solidarity from Egypt to these two sister countries after the February 6 earthquake” that killed nearly 46,000 people in Turkey and Syria, the Egyptian Ministry said in a statement. Shoukry’s visit to Damascus will be the first by an Egyptian Foreign Minister since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011.

In the wake of the devastating earthquakes, Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, had called his Syrian counterpart, Bashar al-Assad; an unprecedented conversation between the two heads of state.

Sisi then called Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, his former arch-rival, with whom he had exchanged his first handshake in November at the World Cup in Qatar. The heads of Egyptian and Syrian diplomacy also spoke on the phone.

Assad has been isolated diplomatically, particularly from the Arab scene – Syria is still suspended from the Cairo-based Arab League – since he began to crack down on a popular uprising that broke out in 2011 and turned into a civil war.

Yet after the earthquake devastated Syria and Turkey, Arab countries resumed contacts and sent aid to Damascus, which could take advantage of the tragedy to break out of its diplomatic isolation, analysts say.

Today Assad received a delegation of heads of Arab parliaments. Among them was Egyptian parliament speaker, Hanafi el-Gabali, described by Egyptian state media as “the highest Egyptian leader to be welcomed to Damascus” in more than a decade.

Relations between Cairo and Damascus have never been completely severed and the top Syrian security official, General Ali Mamluk, even made his first public visit abroad in 2016 since the start of the Syrian war in 2011. However, there’s been a rapprochement with Turkey very recently, as relations between Cairo and Ankara have remained at a low since Sisi came to power in 2013 after the ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi – of whom Ankara was a staunch supporter.

Source: AMNA

Also read: Armenia – Turkey | Earthquake “opens” borders after 35 years




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