Egypt's foreign minister meets Iranian counterpart

Meetings may signal a thaw in relations between the nations.

Mottaki 224.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
Mottaki 224.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Tensions between Iran and Egypt have lessened somewhat recently, with the two nations' foreign ministers meeting three times this week, Egyptian and Iranian officials said Tuesday. Formal diplomatic ties were severed in 1979 when Egypt signed a peace deal with Israel. Although Iran has been looking to improve relations, Egypt accuses Teheran of meddling in Arab conflicts and refuses to renew formal ties until Iran ends its support for Shi'ite militants in Iraq, Hizbullah and Hamas. An Iranian diplomat said this week's talks between Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit and his Iranian counterpart, Manouchehr Mottaki, took place in "a positive and cordial atmosphere." Mottaki arrived in Egypt on Sunday to participate in a conference of the Nonaligned Movement in Sharm el-Sheik. An Egyptian diplomat confirmed that he had met with Aboul Gheit during this time. Both diplomats spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to make public statements. On Sunday, Aboul Gheit's spokesman Hossam Zaki said the two countries have had their differences but expressed hope that they could work together for "stability in the region." In addition to demands that Iran should stop its interference, Cairo wants Teheran change the name of a street honoring former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat's assassin, Khaled el-Islambouli.