U.S. says Turkish foreign minister’s visit to Egypt is ‘important step’

White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan delivers remarks during a press briefing inside the White House in Washington, U.S., February 4, 2021. (Reuters)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — The United States on Saturday welcomed the Turkish foreign minister’s visit to Egypt whose ties have been strained for over a decade.

On Saturday, Ankara’s top diplomat Mevlut Cavusoglu arrived in Egypt’s Cairo and held talks with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry.

Cavusoglu’s visit marked the first ever such a visit during the past 11 years which had taken place following Egypt’s Shoukry invitation.

“We welcome today’s visit to Cairo by Turkey’s FM @mevlutcavusoglu for meetings @MFAEgypt with FM Shoukrey, the first such visit in over a decade. An important step towards a more stable and prosperous region,” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said on Twitter.

Turkey-Egypt relations were severely strained in 2013 after Egypt’s then-army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi led the ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Mursi, an ally of Ankara.

At a joint news conference with his Turkish counterpart, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said talks with Turkey on the possibility of restoring ties to ambassadorial level would happen at “the appropriate time”.

He said the talks had been “honest, deep, and transparent”.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Turkey would upgrade its diplomatic relations with Egypt to ambassador level “as soon as possible”.

Diplomatic relations between Turkey and Egypt are maintained at the level of charges d’affaires on both sides since Egypt’s 2013 military coup.

“I’m very glad that we are taking concrete steps for normalizing relations with Egypt… We will do our best not to rupture our ties again in the future,” Cavusoglu said.

Cairo and Ankara have also been at odds over Libya, where they backed opposing factions in an unresolved conflict, and also over maritime borders in the gas-rich Eastern Mediterranean.

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