Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh al-Shukri has embarked on a visit to six Arab capitals in a bid to “reduce tensions in the region”.
The tour could give some insight into Egypt’s stance on several of the ongoing crises in the region, especially with regard to escalating tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and the situation in Lebanon.
Shukri began his tour in the Jordanian capital, Amman, where he met King Abdullah II and his Jordanian counterpart Ayman Safadi.
According to a statement issued by the Egyptian Foreign Ministry, Shukri will also visit Saudi Arabia’s capital, Riyadh, Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, the Bahraini capital Manama and Oman’s capital, Muscat.
Egypt’s most senior diplomat is expected to deliver messages from Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to the leaders of those countries.
Shukri’s sentiments expressed so far imply that Egypt’s position is not in line with those of its allies, especially Saudi Arabia.
Sisi has said more than once that he is against any war in the region, and that he will not take action against the Iranian-backed Hezbollah movement in Lebanon.
The Egyptian leader has previously condemned Iranian interference in Arab affairs and has emphasised the importance of securing the Gulf states.
However, his position on Lebanon has raised questions about where he stands exactly.
Sisi came to power in 2013 in a military coup, which overthrew Egypt’s first freely elected president, Mohamed Morsi, amid mass protests against his rule.
The overthrow and the subsequent crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood were backed financially and politically by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, which poured billions of dollars into the Egyptian economy.