Iran Calls for Better Ties with Egypt
Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi has called for better ties with Egypt, in remarks seen as another step towards reviving the severed ties between the two key Mideast states.
Kharazi’s statement was made in Doha on Saturday on the sidelines of a meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC).
"We have to move forward. There has been good development and cooperation [between the two countries] in international organizations recently," Kharrazi told Reuters.
Ties between Cairo and Tehran have been tense since the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran, which has in the past criticized diplomatic ties Cairo forged with Israel after a peace treaty in 1979.
The latest sign of improvement was last week when the Teheran City Council agreed to start a debate on possible new names for a street in the Iranian capital that has been a long-running point of contention in relations between Iran and Egypt.
The Teheran street is at present named after Khaled Islambouli, who assassinated then Egyptian president Anwar Al Sadat.
When asked if his ministry would approve the measure, Kharrazi told the agency "it will depend on negotiations," adding that Iran's demand for the renaming of a Cairo street honoring the late Iranian monarch, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, "is a very minor point."
Relations between Egypt and Iran have warmed in the past year, after a telephone conversation between President Mohammed Khatami and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak ended more than 20 years of diplomatic silence.
Kharazi was speaking after a meeting with UAE’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamdan bin Zaid Al Nahayan at which they discussed the three strategic islands, Greater and Lesser Tunb and Abu Moussa, held by Tehran but claimed by the United Arab Emirates.
"Yes, I met with the UAE minister...and discussed general bilateral relations which also included talks on the islands," Kharrazi was quoted by Reuters as saying.
Arab states often say the islands are occupied UAE territory, but Tehran asserts its own sovereignty over them.
The islands provide Iran with positions on both sides of shipping channels in the narrow Gulf waterway, and are also close to its only entrance, the Strait of Hormuz, through which key oil exports must pass.
Iran has rejected calls by the Arab summit and GCC states to accept international arbitration – Albawaba.com
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