Iran, Egypt edge closer to normalisation

Iran and Egypt still have differences of opinion, President Muhammad Khatami has said after his landmark meeting with Egypt's Muhammad Husni Mubarak.

    The two countries' leaders met for the first time since 1979

    Khatami said during the talks on Wednesday on the sidelines of a UN technology summit in Geneva, the first by top leaders from the two countries since they broke off diplomatic ties after Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution, that the two discussed the "historical affinities between the two nations." 

    Khatami, speaking to IRNA on his return from Geneva on Friday, said Mubarak's "viewpoints in such areas as Iraq and Palestine were close to those of Iran," and said the two "agreed that relations between the two countries should be promoted." 

    But the reformist president, who has been responsible for a
    growing rapport between Iran and the Arab world since the US invasion of Iraq, added, "there are certain differences of opinion in other areas." 

    He said "both countries can move forward within the framework of mutual understanding and goodwill." 

    Reinforcing relations

    In Cairo, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmad Mahir told reporters on Saturday that the logical conclusion of the new dialogue between the two countries would be to re-establish full diplomatic relations. 

    "The normal result of the developments would be to come to this end ... It is necessary that the two parties undertake additional and preparatory action to reach what we want." 

    "The normal result of the developments would be to come to this end ... It is necessary that the two parties undertake additional and preparatory action to reach what we want"

    Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmad Mahir

    He added the two countries "were working to undertake actions to reinforce relations" and said the Geneva meeting had given a new impulse towards greater understanding and cooperation between the two countries. 

    Iran and Cairo severed diplomatic ties in 1980, a year after Cairo gave asylum to the deposed shah Muhammad Reza Pahlavi and signed the US-brokered Camp David peace accords with Israel. 

    In turn, Iran angered Egypt by naming a Tehran street after the assassin of Mubarak's predecessor Anwar Sadat, and Mubarak said in January that ties could not be normalised as long as Tehran gave sanctuary to "Egyptian terrorists". 

    SOURCE: AFP


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