File Photo: Al Jazeera journalists (L-R) Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohammed stand behind bars at a court in Cairo, June 1, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)
Ottawa's top diplomat said Tuesday he is close to reaching a deal with Egypt on deporting to Canada one of three imprisoned Al Jazeera journalists.
Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said he was working to free Egyptian-Canadian Mohamed Fahmy.
"We've been working closely at senior levels of the Egyptian government," he said.
The diplomacy is at a "critical phase," said Baird, who is scheduled to make an official visit to Egypt later this month.
Fahmy and two other Al Jazeera journalists -- Australian Peter Greste and Egyptian Baher Mohamed -- were detained in December 2013 for spreading false information and accused of aiding the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood.
Fahmy's brother said a request has been submitted to have him deported from Egypt under a new law signed by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
Greste's lawyer has said he submitted a similar request, while Mohamed's wife said she also was looking at ways to get her husband out of Egypt.
At trial Greste and Fahmy each got seven years, and Mohamed was jailed for 10. Their supporters say the charges were politically motivated.
Egypt's top court ordered a retrial in the case last Thursday.