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Egypt, Iran officials held secret meeting in Oman 

July 14, 2022 at 12:57 pm

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi (L) is welcomed by Oman’s Sultan Haitham bin Tariq (R) in Muscat, Oman on June 27, 2022. [Egyptian Presidency – Anadolu Agency]

A delegation of senior Egyptian and Iranian officials held a secret meeting in Muscat last month, during President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi’s visit to the sultanate, according to Al-Araby Al-Jadid, citing Egyptian diplomatic sources.

During the meeting on 27 June, both sides are said to have agreed to expand bilateral relations in addition to discussing the situation in the Gaza Strip and Syria.

Earlier that month, Iranaian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said that there had been no direct negotiations between Cairo and Tehran, but confirmed that efforts are underway to normalise ties between the two countries.

“Egypt is an important country in the Islamic world and the development of natural relations between Tehran and Cairo is in the interest of both nations,” he added.

Sources also told the Media Line that Cairo ruled out joining a military alliance against Iran, which has been described as an Israeli-aligned “Arab NATO” following the historic Negev Summit in March aimed at promoting economic and security cooperation between Israel and its Arab allies.

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“Egypt assured Iran during the meeting that the Negev Summit is not directed against Iran and will not include any military moves against it. The meeting discussed the situation in the Gaza Strip, the Syrian issue, and other files in the Middle East, and opened the door to relations between the two countries,” the sources added.

Muscat as the venue is in line with the sultanate’s official neutral foreign policy approach, as explained by Ahmed Al-Balushi, an Omani political affairs journalist, who told the Media Line: “The Sultanate of Oman plays a balanced role to bring views closer. Muscat has good relations with everyone and seeks calm.”

Relations between Tehran and Egypt have been strenuous over the past four decades which saw diplomatic ties severed in 1980, a year after Iran’s Islamic Revolution and Egypt’s decision to make peace with Israel.

Relations later warmed following the 2011 Egyptian revolution, when Tehran appointed an ambassador to Cairo and in 2012 when Egypt’s first democratically-elected civilian president, Mohamed Morsi, took office, becoming the first Egyptian leader to visit Tehran since diplomatic relations were severed. This was seen at the time as a potential foreign policy shift by Cairo.

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