Iranian FM Arrives in Egypt
Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi will arrive Sunday in Egypt, on the third leg of a tour that has already taken him to Syria and Lebanon, for talks aimed at preparing for a meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) on October 9 in Doha.
Kharrazi will hold talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, reported the official Iranian news agency (IRNA), adding that he would convey to the Egyptian leader a message from President Mohammed Khatami on the latest situation in the region in the wake of the attacks that slammed the US earlier this month.
Prior to his meeting with the Egyptian leader, Kharrazi will meet with top cleric of Al Azhar, Sunni Islam's highest authority, an Iranian diplomat said Saturday.
Kharazi is also due to meet Arab League chief Amr Moussa Sunday morning before talks with Mubarak on "the global situation after the September 11 attacks on the United States," the diplomat told AFP.
Kharazi will meet Sheikh Mohammed Sayyed Tantawi, the top cleric of Cairo's 1,000-year-old Al Azhar institution, in a highly symbolic meeting between a senior official of the Shiite Islamic state of Iran and Sunni Islam's most influential cleric.
Sunni and Shia are the two main branches of Islam.
Earlier in Damascus, Kharazi held talks with Syrian President Bashar Al Assad and Foreign Minister Farouq Al Sharaa which touched on international developments after the September 11 attacks, said IRNA.
He repeated that his country would not participate in any anti-terrorism coalition led by the United States, and called for the battle to instead be spearheaded by the United Nations.
"We are against terrorism and we will fight against terrorism, but we will not participate in the operations and the coalition led by the United States nor in the military component (of the operations) conducted by the United States against terrorism," he told reporters.
In Beirut, he met with Lebanese President Emile Lahoud, and said they had discussed the UN Security Council resolution obliging member states to crack down on the sources of financial and logistical support for terrorist groups, but declined to comment.
"We discussed it (the resolution) in general. This has to be studied carefully and what is its implication. I have not seen the text yet to be able to take a position right now," the Iranian minister said.
Egypt and Iran are in agreement that the fight against terrorism in the wake of the hijacked plane attacks on New York and Washington should be managed by the United Nations.
Egyptian-Iranian relations were broken in 1980 after the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, but ties have gradually progressed since the beginning of the 1990s.
Each country now has an interests section in the other's capital – Albabwaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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