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Iranian official says after talks with Egypt's Mubarak that ties could soon be restored
01/31/2008
Talks with the Egyptian leader described as "constructive" and that it was only a "matter of time" before the ties were fully restored.
An Iranian official who met with Egypt's president said the two countries could soon restore diplomatic relations severed nearly three decades ago. Gholam Ali Haddad-Adel said his talks with the Egyptian leader Wednesday were "constructive" and that it was only a "matter of time" before the ties were fully restored. He said President Hosni Mubarak expressed a "positive ... approach toward developing bilateral relations." For his part, Haddad-Adel said he stressed the importance of also strengthening economic cooperation and kick-starting religious dialogue between the predominantly Shiite Muslim Iran and Sunni Muslim Egypt. The Eyptian side did not comment the meeting or Haddad-Adel's remarks. "A strong Egypt, a strong Iran and cooperation between these two poles of the Islamic world could push forward peace efforts" in the region and on the international level, Haddad-Adel said at a news conference. Iran has been pushing for improving ties between the two countries. Former diplomatic ties were severed in 1979 when Egypt signed a peace deal with Israel. Egypt has always maintained that normal ties with Iran would come only after Iran stopped meddling in the internal affairs of Arab countries. But Iranian support for Iraqi Shiites, Lebanon's Hezbollah and Palestinian radical Hamas group has stood in the way. Egypt also demands that Iran take down a large mural of former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat's assassin, Khaled el-Islambouli, and change the name of a street honoring him. This month saw a flurry of Iranian-Egyptian diplomatic activity, with officials from either side visiting. The US has repeatedly warned Arab countries of Iran's designs on the region.
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