Egypt's Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry during a meeting with his Syrian counterpart Faisal Mekdad, who is paying the first visit by a top Syrian diplomat to Egypt in over a decade. (photo: The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Mekdad’s trip to Cairo is the first visit by a top Syrian diplomat to Egypt in over a decade.
The two officials had a one-on-one meeting and then were joined by their respective delegations, tackling issues of mutual concern, including regional issues.
Minister Shoukry reiterated to his Syrian counterpart Egypt's full support for efforts to reach a comprehensive political settlement to the Syrian crisis as soon as possible.
Shoukry said the settlement should be in accordance with the United Nations Security Council Resolutions, voicing Cairo's support to the UN Special Envoy to Syria Geir Pedersen, as per a statement released by Egyptian foreign ministry following the meeting.
He also underlined the necessity of achieving national consensus among the Syrian people, building confidence, and continuing the meetings of the Syrian Constitutional Committee.
A comprehensive political settlement of the Syrian crisis would put an end to foreign interference in the Syrian affairs, ensure the restoration of the country's full security and stability, preserve its territorial integrity and sovereignty and eliminate all forms of terrorism, Shoukry explained.
This, he noted, would allow for the voluntary and safe return of Syrian refugees, alleviating the suffering of the Syrian people and enhancing stability in the region, according to Spokesman for Egypt's Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ahmed Abu Zeid.
Talks also tackled ways to help the Syrian people face their accumulated challenges, including recovering from the effects of the devastating February earthquake, the statement added.
On his part, Mekdad conveyed his country's appreciation for Egypt's supportive role in Syria, expressing gratitude to Egypt for providing humanitarian relief after the earthquake.
He said he looks forward to more Arab solidarity with Syria in order to overcome its crisis and restore its historical role in the Arab world.
During the meeting, the Syrian minister presented various aspects of the Syrian crisis, including economic, humanitarian and security challenges which the Syrian people faced and are still suffering from, according to Abu Zeid.
Both ministers agreed on intensifying channels of communication between the two countries with the aim of tackling issues and matters of interest for both countries, added Abu Zeid.
In late February, FM Shoukry visited Damascus to extend a message of solidarity to the Syrian people following the devastating earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria leaving thousands dead and more homeless.
It was the first visit by an Egyptian foreign minister to Syria since 2011.
During the visit, FM Shoukry held meetings with his counterpart as well as with Syria’s President Bashar Al-Assad.
In a press conference in Damascus following these meetings, Shoukry stressed that the “Syrian people have a special place to Egyptian people and the purpose of this visit, in the first place, is humanitarian to deliver solidarity at the presidential, governmental and citizen level to the Syrian people amid this tragedy.”
On the day that the earthquake struck Turkey and Syria, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi phoned his Syrian counterpart Al-Assad to express condolences over the victims of the calamity and affirm that Cairo would provide all needed humanitarian aid.