Al-Assad: No diplomatic relations with Egypt despite 'joint vision'

Ahram Online , Wednesday 16 Sep 2015

Syria and Egypt have both strengthened ties with Russia recently

President Bashar Al-Assad (photo: Reuters)

In an interview with Russia Today broadcast on Wednesday, Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad said Egypt-Syria relations extend only to security matters.

“There is a joint vision between us and the Egyptians, but our relationship is currently only on a security level. There are no diplomatic relations.” Al-Assad said.

Al-Assad went on to say there are no interactions between the Syrian foreign ministry and the Egyptian foreign ministry, attributing this to “pressure applied on Egypt and Syria to not have a strong relationship.”

Bashar added that his government feels comfortable about the improved relations between Russia and Egypt.

“We feel comfortable about improved relations between Russia and Egypt. At the same time, it's natural for Russia to feel comfortable for any positive developments in relations between Syria and Egypt."

He also pointed out that relations between institutions in Egypt and Syria were never fully severed even when diplomatic ones were.

“Relations between Syria and Egypt have never ceased over recent years, and even when the president was Mohamed Morsi - a member of the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood organisation - Egyptian institutions insisted on maintaining a certain element of this relationship,” the president said.

The Egyptian government has not been involved in the Syrian crisis for the past four years, perhaps due its alliances with different parties on opposite sides of the table including Saudi Arabia, Russia and the USA.

Egypt-Syria ties reached their low-point during Morsi's rule when he cut all diplomatic ties with Syria. Morsi established strong ties with Qatar and Turkey, who strongly oppose the Assad regime.

Under Egypt’s current leadership, diplomatic ties have not been returned, but after Egypt hosted a conference for "moderate" Syrian opposition groups in Cairo and improved ties with Russia, Egypt has started to shift to a middle ground.

President Al-Assad has been calling for Egypt’s support for a while, recently stating in an interview with Egyptian reporters that Egypt and Syria are fighting the same war against terrorism.

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