Cairo, Damascus to Renew Ties, Say Reports

Relations between the two countries fizzled after Muslim Brotherhood took control of Egypt. Renewal a victory for Assad.

Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury
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Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi reviews an honor guard at the presidential palace in Nicosia, Cyrpus, ahead of a meeting to discuss the situation in Syria, April 29, 2015.
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi reviews an honor guard at the presidential palace in Nicosia, Cyrpus, ahead of a meeting to discuss the situation in Syria, April 29, 2015.Credit: AP
Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury

Damascus and Cairo agreed to renew diplomatic ties, according to reports in the Arab world.

Renewal of relations between the two countries is a diplomatic achievement for Damascus.

Syria's National Security Bureau chief, Ali Mamlouk, met with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi and senior Egyptian military officials in Cairo two weeks ago, according to Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar, which is known to have connections to the presidential palace in Damascus.

According to the report, participants discussed among other things the war on Islamist terror associated with ISIS and global jihad organizations. Egypt has been combatting such groups in Sinai. The sides also discussed the struggle against the Muslim Brotherhood and the two regimes' hostile relations with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his policies.

Egyptian sources familiar with recent developments told Haaretz that Egytpian's military apparatus has always seen Syria as a partner for security coordination. According to these sources, the deterioration in relations between the countries duirng the Muslim Brotherhood regime was one of the reasons for the army's uprising against ousted President Mohammed Morsi.

The sources also remarked that any future deal in Syria should preserve its military and state institutions and not create a process that will lead to their collapse, as happened in Iraq and Libya. The sources added that the warming of Damascus-Cairo relations would not have happened had Egypt not been sure that it wouldn't arouse a counterreaction in the Arab world, particularly in the Gulf states.

According to other reports, General Mamlouk recently paid a secret visit to Saudi Arabia and Oman, meeting with senior officials in both states to promote a diplomatic solution to the crisis in Syria.

Egypt has called for a political arrangement in Syria for the past two years, but has desisted from calling for the removal of President Bahar Assad as a precondition, as Saudi Arabia and Turkey have done.

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