Syrian President Bashar Assad's choice of Egypt as his first foreign visit since taking office in July underscores the importance he places on coordination with such a major Arab country, reported AFP, quoting the ruling party's Al-Baath newspaper.
Assad is set to arrive in Cairo on Sunday afternoon for talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on ways to advance the peace process, strengthen Arab solidarity and developing bilateral relations, said the agency.
Al-Baath described the trip as "very important, and the choice of Cairo for a first trip reflects the strength of (the two countries') historic relations.
"To negotiate with strength, the Arabs must have solidarity and coordinate their efforts in the face of the military hegemony of Israel, which is proposing a peace that is full of traps," wrote the Ath-Thawra daily.
According to AFP, the newspaper stressed the importance of having a common posture among Syria, Egypt and Saudi Arabia that would be the "starting point" for a unified Arab position.
Turki Sakr, the newspaper's editor-in-chief, told AFP that the questions Assad and Mubarak will deal with during their talks are particularly timely, given the "impasse in the peace process."
Egypt's Presidential Political Advisor, Osama Al-Baz was quoted by ArabicNews.com as saying that "The Egyptian-Syrian coordination constitutes a fundamental basis for serving the Arab causes in a bid to counter the challenges of the future and present."
Al-Baz reiterated the full Egyptian support for the Syrian just position towards the Middle East peace process, said ArabicNews.
"Bashar is armed with an established national creed that puts the interests and rights of Arabs above any other consideration; and his deep vision on the Arab solidarity and activating joint Arab action goes in line with that of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak," Al-Baz said.
After Egypt, Assad also plans a tour of the Gulf Arab countries, as well as Iran and Turkey, diplomatic sources told AFP - (Several Sources)
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