Iran News ...


2/14/04

Iran rules out Foreign Minister Kharrazi`s visit to Egypt

Iran on Saturday dismissed as `baseless` a press report that Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi was intending to visit Egypt, IRNA reported from Tehran.

"The visit of the Iranian foreign minister to Egypt is not on the agenda of the Islamic Republic," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi said.

The daily Al-Ahram had sought the views of official sources in Egypt about speculations on Kharrazi`s visit to Egypt, who had ruled it out as `unsuitable` at the present time.

Asefi said, "No telegram or message has been received from Egypt regarding the Iranian foreign minister`s visit to Egypt."

Iran and Egypt took a series of fence-mending measures last month, fuelling speculation that the two countries - virtually at odds since the 1979 Islamic Revolution - would imminently resume ties.

But the two sides moved into low gear after Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmad Maher was cited as saying that an imminent normalization of ties was a thing `in the future`.

Iran`s Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said recently that `relations between Iran and Egypt are in the restoration phase and need time`.

"There should be a natural and definite course for relations to be resumed in the near future. What is important is that both sides have decided on this and are working on it," he said.

Tehran has invited President Hosni Mubarak to an economic summit here, planned for February 19 and 20, but the visit by the Egyptian leader has been ruled out by press reports which have mentioned Maher to represent Cairo at the venue.

The visit is seen to set the tone for the two countries on how to proceed with the `reconstruction` of their diplomatic ties, which have been almost non-existent due to the Camp David peace treaty with Israel.

The two countries moved early last month towards rapprochement after Maher renounced the accord as a thing of ancient history. The gesture was immediately reciprocated by Iran, which renamed the Khaled Islambouli street, called after the assassin of former Egyptian president Anwar Sadat.

Tehran and Cairo first broke the ice in June 2000 after President Mohammad Khatami spoke on phone with Mubarak in the first such conversation by the presidents of the two countries.

Khatami and Mubarak met in Geneva in December, on the sidelines of a UN technology summit. Iran said later it had invited the Egyptian president to attend the summit of eight Islamic developing countries (D-8) in Tehran.

The Islamic Republic severed its ties with Egypt after its former President Anwar Sadat signed the Camp David peace accord with the Zionist regime and provided sanctuary to the defunct shah.

Speaking to IRNA in Cairo in January, Maher said that the Camp David accord `does not exist anymore and is merely a thing of the past`.

"There have been many changes and I believe that this case between Iran and Egypt has already been closed... What matters now is the interest of Iran and Egypt to work with each other," he said.

At the request of the Foreign Ministry, Tehran City Council then agreed to rename the Khaled Islambouli street to Intifada (uprising) of the Palestinians in the occupied territories.

... Payvand News - 2/14/04 ... --



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