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Sunday, 12 September 2021

Egypt, Turkey could normalize ties this year + New Lebanese government an “important step,” says Foreign Ministry

Egypt and Turkey may normalize their relationship before the end of the year if the two sides manage to overcome a number of outstanding issues, Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly told Bloomberg last week (watch, runtime: 16:33). Officials held a second round of talks in Ankara last week to discuss ways to restoring diplomatic ties, which have been severed since the Ikhwan government was removed from office in the 2013 Revolution. “Definitely, if we agree on these [outstanding] issues,” Madbouly replied when asked whether ties could be restored later this year.

Madbouly cited “foreign interference” and the situation in Libya as key issues that the two countries still need to overcome before the relationship can improve. Until UN-backed negotiations brokered an interim government earlier this year, Egypt and Turkey had backed opposite sides in a civil war that pitted the government in Tripoli against General Khalifa Haftar’s rival forces in the east of the country.

On Afghanistan: The Taliban needs to back up its words with actions before the Egyptian government can cooperate with its administration, Madbouly said. The government has so far made good statements but it will need to demonstrate that it is refraining from fundamentalism before the two countries can begin developing a relationship.

IN OTHER DIPLOMATIC NEWS- Egypt welcomed the formation of a new government in Lebanon on Friday, which came following more than a year of fraught negotiations taking place amid an economic collapse. Sunni businessman Najib Mikati reached an agreement with president Michel Aoun to form a cabinet which must now try to steer the country out of economic paralysis that has caused shortages of everything from fuel and electricity to food and medical supplies. In a statement Friday, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ahmed Hafez welcomed the new cabinet as an “important step” to solving Lebanon’s problems and pledged Egypt’s support. Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria last week agreed a plan to supply Egyptian gas to the crisis-stricken country in a step that should help relieve crippling electricity shortages and lessen the blackouts.

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