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Egypt and Iran arrange new talks in Baghdad

May 18, 2023 at 12:26 pm

Jordan’s King Abdullah II (L) and Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian (top) look on as Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (C) shakes hands with another dignitary [KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP via Getty Images]

Intense efforts have been taking place recently to restore relations between Egypt and Iran, at a time when the region is experiencing major political changes amid a trend to reduce tensions between countries, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed has reported.

According to Egyptian diplomatic sources, a new meeting with Iraqi mediation was approved in principle to be held in early July between officials from Cairo and Tehran at the highest security level.

Senior Iraqi sources told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed on 5 May that Egyptian and Iranian representatives met in Baghdad last month, mediated by the government of Mohammed Shia’ Sabbar Al-Sudani. This was an attempt to reproduce the Iraqi mediation between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which resulted in six rounds of preliminary dialogue between the two sides.

“The Iraqi mediation came after efforts by the Sultanate of Oman, which took the initiative to improve relations between the two countries,” explained an Egyptian diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “The Egyptian reservations about relations with Iran began to fade recently, specifically in light of the Saudi-Iranian agreement to resume relations between themselves.”

Cairo is said to be “more open” to mediation attempts by Iraq and Oman. “However,” said the diplomat, “at the same time, it is still in the phase of testing Tehran’s seriousness and what Iranian officials have conveyed during previous meetings regarding the desire to calm the atmosphere with other countries in the region.” What is happening at the present time was described as a “cautious response”.

The qualitative shift between Riyadh and Tehran, under Chinese auspices, and the resumption of diplomatic relations, added the diplomat, have helped, because Cairo’s response to Iranian attempts has always been based on the position of the Gulf states.

The latest move comes at a time when Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian has told the official IRNA agency of his hope that Iranian-Egyptian relations would witness a “serious breakthrough.”

A member of Iran’s Commission of National-Security and Foreign-Policy in parliament, Feda Hossein Maliki, said earlier that Tehran and Cairo had agreed to revive diplomatic relations and reopen embassies during the talks in Baghdad and that the talks are moving towards achieving this.

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