Iran, Egypt leaders discuss Syria conflict, ties

AFP , Thursday 30 Aug 2012

Despite tensions over Syria, Iran and Egypt discuss ways to improve Cairo-Tehran relations in Non-Aligned Movement summit, says deputy Iranian FM

Presidents Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran and Egypt's Mohamed Morsi on Thursday discussed the Syrian conflict and their states' severed diplomatic ties in their first-ever bilateral meeting, an official said.

"They emphasised the need to solve the Syria crisis via diplomacy and to prevent foreign intervention," Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian told Iran's Arabic-language broadcaster Al-Alam.

"They also discussed ways to boost the level of Tehran-Cairo relations," he said.

The meeting took place in Tehran on the sidelines of a summit of the Non-Aligned Movement at which Egypt handed over the organisation's rotating presidency to Iran.

Morsi's attendance was the first time a head of state from Egypt stepped foot in Iran since the two countries broke off diplomatic ties in the wake of Tehran's 1979 Islamic revolution.

Iran has been reaching out to Morsi since June when he became Egypt's civilian president.

Morsi hails from Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood and says he is seeking broader relationships in the Middle East, including with Tehran. But he has so far reacted with caution to Iran's overtures.

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