ALBAWABA - Egypt and Syria are showing signs of a thaw in relations strained 12 years ago, with Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad holding talks with his Egyptian counterpart in Cairo.
The visit is widely seen in preparation of an expected visit by Syrian President Bashar Assad to Cairo towards the end of April for talks with President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi on ways to end their estrangement and reviving relations, according to regional media reports.
Syria had fallen out with Syria and several other members of the 22-nation Arab League for using force to quell a civil war that broke out in the country in 2011. At the time, there were allegations that the regime of President Bashar Assad had used chemical weapons against his own countrymen to stop the protests.
Rehabilitating Syria into the Arab League fold has become a pressing issue after Saudi Arabia agreed, under a China-brokered deal last month, to resume diplomatic relations with Iran following a seven-year alienation. The two rivals are the region's political heavyweights ruled by the rival Sunni and Shiite sects of Islam.
Mekdad's Saturday visit is the first of its kind by a Syrian foreign minister to Egypt in 12 years, when Syrians took to the streets in peaceful demonstrations calling for Assad's ouster, which Arab states say was met by unjustified force by the Damascus government.
The Syrian foreign minister held talks with Sameh Shoukry after landing in Cairo. Regional media outlets said discussions focused on "strengthening bilateral relations." Both officials also discussed the latest developments in the region and beyond, according to the Syrian news agency SANA.
ICYMI: #Syria’s foreign minister has met his Egyptian counterpart in Cairo, the first such visit in more than a decade.#Egypthttps://t.co/8N6PsDwnTg— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) April 1, 2023
Both ministers agreed to "intensify channels of communication between the two countries at the various levels, during the next stage," according to a statement by the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
During the meeting, Mekdad conveyed "his country's appreciation for Egypt's supportive role throughout the years of the crisis," while Shoukry emphasized Egypt's efforts to reach a comprehensive political settlement to the Syrian crisis as soon as possible."
Egypt and Syria commit to closer ties as foreign minister visits Cairo... https://t.co/pGGsoo7KUi— Aydın Sezer (@AydinSezer06) April 2, 2023
The Egyptian-Syrian meeting was followed by a session that included other officials from the two countries.
Syria's foreign minister met his Egyptian counterpart in Cairo on Saturday in the first official Syrian visit to Egypt since civil war broke out more than a decade agohttps://t.co/mQtlxaG8g3— Middle East Eye (@MiddleEastEye) April 2, 2023
Mekdad's visit to Cairo is the first since the suspension of Syria's membership in the Arab League in 2011. It comes nearly two months after the Egyptian Foreign Minister made his first official visit to Damascus since the outbreak of the Syrian crisis.
يلتقي وزير الخارجية السوري فيصل المقداد مع نظيره المصري سامح شكري في القاهرة لإجراء مباحثات حول تعزيز العلاقات الثنائية بين البلدين. وكان شكري قد زار دمشق قبل عدة أسابيع في إطار تقديم الدعم لمواجهة تداعيات الزلزال المدمر. pic.twitter.com/F2TdIVBCpl— RT Online (@RTonline_ar) April 1, 2023
Shoukry met Assad, the Syrian president, in addition to his Syrian counterpart, in February, when he conveyed his country's solidarity against the backdrop of two devastating earthquakes that struck Syria and Turkey on the Feb. 6, killing and displacing thousands of people.
Written by Writer Razan Abdelhadi