Syrian housing minister visit to Egypt is not official: Egypt housing ministry

Menna Alaa El-Din, Sunday 6 Dec 2015

Mohamed Waleed Ghazal
File photo: Syria's housing and urban development minister Mohamed Waleed Ghazal (Photo: Al-Ahram)

The spokesperson for Egypt’s housing ministry Hany Younnes told Ahram Online on Sunday that the ministry does not know anything about a Saturday visit to Egypt by the Syrian housing and urban development minister.

The Syrian minister, Mohamed Waleed Ghazal, visited Cairo after a trip to Beirut, making it the first visit to Egypt by a Syrian official since Egypt severed its diplomatic ties with Syria in 2013, according to Ahram's Ashraf El-Hadidy.

According to media reports, Syria’s Ghazal will be participating in the activities of the Arab Engineers Union in Sharm El-Sheikh on 11 December, where discussions on engineering issues in the region will take place.

In June 2013, weeks before his ouster, Egypt's then-president Mohamed Morsi withdrew Egypt’s ambassador from Syria and closed Damascus’ embassy in Cairo, saying that Egypt stands with the people of Syria and the "Syrian revolution."

Following the ouster of Morsi, Egypt’s foreign policy towards Syria was more favourable of a political solution that would "ensure the unity and independence of the country."

Egypt’s foreign minister Sameh Shoukry in November 2015 commented on the Syrian civil conflict, saying that the situation is about a "nation that is in agony, and not about a specific person leaving or staying," referring to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.

In October 2015, Egypt showed support for the Russian airstrikes in Syria, portraying it as a step to curtail the spread of terrorism and help deal a fatal blow to the ISIS militant group in the war-torn country.

"Russia's entrance, given its potential and capabilities, is something we see is going to have an effect on limiting terrorism in Syria and eradicating it," Shoukry said.

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