Baghdad Proposes to Forge Dialogue Between Iran, Egypt
EghtesadOnline: Iraq’s prime minister is set to take certain measures on brokering Tehran-Cairo talks over the upcoming weeks, Amir-Abdollahian said.
Baghdad has proposed Iraqi mediation for talks between Iran and Egypt at political and security level, according to the Iranian top diplomat.
Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said the proposition was made by Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia' Al Sudani during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Baghdad II conference in Amman.
During that meeting, the Iraqi premier put forward ideas on how Iraq could play a role in promoting regional cooperation, including brokering political and security dialogue between Tehran and Cairo to upgrade their mutual ties, he explained.
“I welcomed the Iraqi prime minister’s idea,” he told Mizan news agency.
Sudani is set to take certain measures in this regard over the upcoming weeks, according to Amir-Abdollahian.
“We agreed to pursue this plan in line with Iraq’s [intention to play a] regional role in helping enhance cooperation and dialogue,” he said.
Iran and Egypt have experienced fluctuating tensions in their ties since the victory of the Islamic Revolution in 1979.
They severed diplomatic relations in 1980 following Egypt’s recognition of Israel, while the two remained at odds over various issues, including Cairo’s support for Iraqi former dictator Saddam Hussein in its eight-year war with Iran [1980-88] and close Egyptian relations with the United States and most of Western European countries.
Relations started to improve significantly after the official resignation of President Hosni Mubarak in February 2011, following which the two eventually reestablished bilateral diplomatic relations and appointed ambassadors.
Iran’s tensions with Saudi Arabia and western countries, however, continue to put this development into question, although both sides have recently expressed readiness to mend relations and settle differences.
In July, Egyptian sources said a high-level meeting had taken place between the two countries’ officials in Oman.
“During the meeting, an agreement was reached on joint coordination in international forums, as long as that was possible, in light of the desire of Cairo and Tehran to reach a good level of relations, provided that they would gradually improve, according to the developments of events in the region,” the sources were cited as saying by Al Araby Al Jadeed.
Amir-Abdollahian later denied a direct meeting, although expressing hope for developing relations.
“We have not yet had direct negotiations with the Egyptian side. Egypt is an important country in the Islamic world and the world, and we believe that expanding relations between Tehran and Cairo is in the interest of the two peoples,” he said.
Iraq has already mediated between Iran and Saudi Arabia, hosting five rounds of negotiations in Baghdad to help the two Persian Gulf states to restore their ties.
Tehran and Riyadh cut diplomatic relations in 2016 after Iranians stormed the Saudi embassy in response to the kingdom’s execution of a prominent Shia cleric.
Both sides have shown signs of interest in rapprochement in recent years, marked by several rounds of Baghdad-mediated talks.
Along this line, Amir-Abdollahian met his Saudi counterpart Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud also on the sidelines of the Baghdad II conference.
He later said in a tweet in Arabic that “the Saudi minister assured me of his country’s readiness to continue dialogue with Iran.”
Prince Faisal has already said his country will continue to extend its hand to Iran for a “positive relationship” that serves the stability of the region.
Amir-Abdollahian had also earlier appreciated the “constructive” role played by Iraq in advancing the regional dialogue and said there has been “progress” in the last five rounds of talks with Saudi Arabia.