(photo credit: REUTERS)
CAIRO - Cairo is ready to re-establish diplomatic ties with Tehran after a break of more than 30 years, Egypt's foreign minister said on Monday, signaling a shift in Iran policy since the fall of President Hosni Mubarak.
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"The Egyptian and Iranian people deserve to have mutual relations reflecting their history and civilization," said Foreign Minister Nabil Elaraby after meeting Iranian official Mugtabi Amani.
"Egypt is open to all countries and the aim is to achieve common interests," Elaraby said, adding that Cairo welcomed "opening a new page with Iran."
It was the first publicly announced meeting between officials from both countries since Mubarak was toppled on Feb. 11, handing power to the army.
Amani carried a message from Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, who welcomed Egypt's initiative.
"Foreign Minister Salehi ... called for developing bilateral cooperation, beginning with hosting Egypt's foreign minister in Tehran or having Iran's foreign minister visit Cairo," Menha Bakhowm, spokeswoman for Egypt's foreign ministry, said in a statement.
Egypt and Iran have been at odds on a number of issues including the
Middle East peace process and ties with Israel and the United States.
Shi'ite Muslim Iran and mainly Sunni Egypt severed ties in 1980
following Iran's Islamic revolution and Egypt's recognition of Israel.
Both have competed for influence in the Middle East.