The head of Syrian diplomacy in Cairo, a first in a decade

Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Meqdad meets with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, April 1, 2023. © Egyptian Foreign Ministry/Handout via REUTERS

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Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri received his Syrian counterpart Faisal Meqdad in Cairo on Saturday.


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The warmth of the embrace between the two heads of diplomacy reflects the atmosphere of the discussions that followed. With the exception of the short period in power of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt has always supported the government and the regular army in Damascus while demanding the opening of national reconciliation negotiations, recalls our correspondent in Cairo, Alexandre Buccianti. For Cairo, the civil war in Syria, as in Yemen and Libya, paves the way for foreign interference.

It is therefore not surprising that the two heads of diplomacy agree on most subjects. On Saturday, "discussions focused on ways to help the Syrian people restore their unity and sovereignty over all their territory," the ministry said, while areas of northern Syria are still outside Damascus' control. The two ministers agreed "to strengthen dialogue" between their countries, according to the same statement. Since the earthquake that devastated Syria and Turkey, Arab countries have re-established contact and sent aid to Damascus.

A gradual exit from diplomatic isolation

Egyptian-Syrian relations date back to Pharaonic times and more recently, under Nasser, the two countries were formally united. It is estimated that more than one million Syrians have settled in Egypt, many of whom have set up industrial, commercial or restaurant businesses. The formal resumption of relations will undoubtedly take place after the Arab League summit to be held in Saudi Arabia on 19 May.

The visit comes as Syria gradually emerges from its diplomatic isolation in the Arab world, after being ostracized by the repression of the revolt that triggered the war in that country in 2011. The head of Egyptian diplomacy had visited Syria to provide Egypt's support after the earthquake. By the end of 2018, the UAE had already reopened its embassy in Damascus. And in March 2022, Bashar al-Assad made his first visit to an Arab country in Abu Dhabi. Syria is still suspended from the Arab League which sits in Cairo.


And with AFP)

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  • Egypt
  • Syria
  • Diplomacy