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Iranian FM to discuss Syria with Egypt's Morsi

President Bashar Al-Assad's recent initiative to 'solve' 21-month crisis top of agenda in Wednesday's Iran-Egypt meeting, confirms Tehran's ambassador to Cairo

Ahram Online, Wednesday 9 Jan 2013
Egyptian-Iranian relations
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad,second right, welcomes Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi for the opening session of the Nonaligned Movement summit, in Tehran,Iran,Thursday, 30 August 2012 (Photo:AP)
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Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi will meet Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi to discuss the Syrian crisis during his visit to Cairo on Wednesday, Tehran's ambassador to Cairo told pan-Arab daily Asharq Al-Awsat.

Ambassador Mojtaba Amani said Wednesday that Salehi's visit, which follows similar appointments in Qatar and some African states, will involve meetings with Egypt's
Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr and UN Arab League envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi.

"None of the controversial points about Syria will be off the table, especially those related to the recently-issued plan by [Syrian President Bashar] Al-Assad and the Egyptian-launched contact group", he said.

The Iranian foriegn minister, for his part,  told Al-Ahram newspaper in August that Tehran is keen on establishing relations of "friendship and brotherhood" with Egypt, adding that Iran hoped to restore "normal" ties after relations were terminated in the aftermath of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

On Monday, Iran announced its support for Syrian president's plan to end the 21-month civil war that has claimed more than 60,000 lives, according to UN estimates.

"The Islamic republic... backs President Bashar Al-Assad's initiative for a comprehensive solution to the country's crisis," Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said in a statement on his ministry's official website.

"Assad's plan includes solutions which reject violence and terrorism and any foreign interference in the country, and outlines a comprehensive political process to end the conflict," the statement added.

Al-Assad said in a speech Sunday that he will open dialogue with the opposition but promised to stand against those he described as "terrorists" and their foreign backers.

Predominantly Shiite Iran has provided economic and military aid to Syria, as many of the regime's figures hail from the Alawite branch of Shia Islam and both countries share an anti-Israeli foreign policy.

During the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Tehran on 30 August last year, Morsi said the Al-Assad's regime "had lost all legitimacy" and it was not enough to show sympathy towards the Syrian people but the time had come to act upon this sympathy.

This statement follows Egypt's earlier move to form a regional contact group on Syria, which would include Iran as well as Saudi Arabia and Turkey (two countries supporting the rebels) in a bid to reach a peaceful settlement to the crisis.

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