Preparations underway for meeting between Sisi and Erdogan: Turkish FM

Ahram Online , Saturday 18 Mar 2023

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced on Saturday in Cairo that there is currently coordination to hold a meeting between President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Egypt, Turkey
Egypt s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry (R) and his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu, give a joint press conference in Cairo, on March 18, 2023. AFP


"We are working to facilitate a meeting between the heads of state, before or after the Turkish elections, and this will be on a date of their choice," Cavusoglu said during a joint press conference with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry following their talks at Tahrir Palace.

Cavusoglu arrived in the Egyptian capital earlier in the day for a new round of discussions aimed at normalising relations between the two countries, marking the first high-level visit in over a decade.

Shoukry said the consultations with his Turkish counterpart were "deep, frank, and transparent."

He added that the two countries have the political will to restore normal relations after the events of recent years.

The meeting tackled the restoration of representation at the level of ambassadors. No date has been set though for the exchange of ambassadors.

"We will come to this point at the appropriate time, in accordance with the positive results that this path brings," Shoukry said.

"Diplomatic relations between the two countries has not been severed. It has been existing at the level of charge d'affaires … there was representation of Egypt in Ankara and representation of Turkey in Egypt," Shoukry added.

These positive results, Shoukry noted, started with finding as common visions on many issues, including bilateral relations and regional topics.

"We look forward to everything that can benefit both countries," Shoukry added, noting that the meeting discussed all issues affecting bilateral relations and regional situations.

"I'm very glad that we are taking concrete steps for normalising relations with Egypt... We will do our best not to rupture our ties again in future," Cavusoglu said.

Enhancing economic ties

The Turkish foreign minister stated that his government is encouraging companies to invest in Egypt.

He also expressed Turkey's desire to increase both trade and tourism with Egypt.

In previous statements, Turkish Charge d'Affaires Salih Mutlu Sen noted that the number of Egyptian tourists who visited Turkey in 2022 exceeded 200,000, breaking previous records for tourism between the two countries.

Shoukry affirmed that despite past strains in official relations, economic ties between Egypt and Turkey remain important.

"Egypt has always been keen to maintain economic relations with Turkey," Shoukry stated, noting that in recent years, economic cooperation between the two countries had grown, with trade exchange reaching $9 billion.

Shoukry added that Turkish investments in Egypt had reached $2.5 billion, saying that he expects economic ties to improve further.

Regional developments

In their talks, the two foreign ministers discussed a range of issues, including the latest developments in the Palestinian territories, with Turkish FM Mevlut Cavusoglu stating that he hoped that tensions would not escalate during the holy month of Ramadan, especially around the Al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem.

They also discussed the latest developments in Syria, as well as ways to counter terrorist organisations there.

The two ministers touched on the issue of Libya, but did not reveal the details of their discussions to the press.

Libya has been a major point of tension between the two countries in recent years, especially following the border demarcation agreement between the Turkey and Libyan Government of the National Accord of Tripoli. Egypt has rejected the agreement.

The ministers also discussed the reconciliation agreement between Saudi Arabia and Iran, as well as the latest developments in Iraq. The Ukrainian-Russian crisis was also discussed, given the potential impact of the conflict on both Turkey and Egypt, the Turkish foreign minister said during a press conference.

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