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Iran, Egypt to mull over resumption of ties

Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said in Tehran on Wednesday that he has been assigned the responsibility, along with his Egyptian counterpart, to prepare the grounds for resumption of Tehran-Cairo ties, IRNA reported.

Speaking on the sidelines of a conference on dialogue among civilizations, he told IRNA the two presidents have appointed the respective foreign ministers to handle the discussions on rapprochement between the nations.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmad Maher, in statements on Tuesday, had said Cairo is undecided in resuming relations with Tehran. Kharrazi said the process has to take its course and stage be set for upgrading of the relations.

"Iran and Egypt are two strong and influential nations in the region and have important political roles."

On Iran-US ties, he said better atmosphere has to prevail and constructive steps taken for confidence to be instilled in relations between the two nations.

A new outlook has to be conjured up in Tehran-Washington relations. "So far, US views towards Iran have been antagonistic and it has used pressure to exert its views on Iran," Kharrazi added.

Iran, a country with an ancient civilizations, will not bow down to pressure Kharrazi said, adding "if dialogue is based on mutual respect then Tehran is ready for discussions."

Tehran's experience with Europe over the latter's peaceful nuclear program is a token of the type of interaction in which the two side have benefited, the Iranian foreign minister stated.

Meanwhile, The Tehran City Council on Tuesday agreed to rename the Khaled Islambouli street, called after the assassin of former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, to Intifada (uprising) of the Palestinians in the occupied lands.

The decision came on the request of Foreign Ministry on Monday, a day after Maher described the Camp David peace accord between Cairo and Tel Aviv, which has irked Iran, as a thing of past history.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi, who attended the council session, said, "The changing of the street name has taken place on the basis of the new atmosphere, created between Iran and Egypt."

"This decision is a step in line with the principle of detente and trust-building among countries, especially the Islamic states," he added.

Asefi said Tehran has taken the decision "on the basis of the Islamic Republic's dignity, wisdom and expedience".

Al-Ahram: Strong Cairo-Tehran ties a strategic imperative

Brussels, Jan 8, IRNA -- The meeting between Egyptian President Honsi Mubarak and Iranian President Mohammad Khatami in Geneva last month marked a significant step in the rapprochement between Egypt and Iran, wrote the Egyptian state-run paper al-Ahram weekly published Thursday.

"If progress has been slow the latest Iranian initiative changing the name of the Tehran street named after Sadat's assassin, Khaled EI-Islambouli - should be viewed as a clear message to Cairo to move faster along the road to full restoration of ties," said the English- language paper.

That initiative was itself preceded by President Mubarak's swift response to the earthquake that devastated the ancient city of Bam, establishing an air bridge for Egyptian humanitarian assistance to the afflicted city.

"The momentum already established must not be allowed to slacken. Strengthened ties are a strategic imperative for both Egypt and Iran."

"Egypt must now use its strong relations with the US to help establish a three-way dialogue with Washington aimed at achieving greater transparency in dealing with regional crises, particularly in Palestine and Iraq," concluded the Egyptian paper.

... Payvand News - 1/8/04 ... --

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