Egypt to reopen embassy in Baghdad only after verifying security progress


Cairo : Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul-Gheit said his country could reopen its embassy in Baghdad only after making sure of the improvement of the security situation in Iraq.

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“It is illogical to send a diplomatic team there at a time when they could not go out of the embassy,” Egypt’s state-run Middle East News Agency (MENA) quoted the minister as saying during a preparatory meeting of the annual congress of the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) here.

“It is clear that violence in Iraq is on the decrease. This is why we are thinking of sending of a diplomatic team to Baghdad.

“Our diplomatic representation will grow gradually till restoration of full security to Iraq,” he made clear.

Meanwhile, the minister encouraged the Egyptian companies to venture into the Iraqi investment market, noting the north Iraq was fully secure at present.

“The companies can make north Iraq a starting point for their activities and then expand throughout Iraq,” Abul-Gheit suggested.

“The Egyptian products can find a promising market in Iraq,” he pointed out.

Regarding the agenda of the coming U.S. Administration, the Egyptian minister among others said he expected the issues of Iraq and Afghanistan to be on top of the priority order of that administration followed by the economic situation in the United States, the Middle East question and restoration of the global role of the US.

As per the Palestine question Abul-Gheit urged the Palestinian factions to unify their ranks, rebuild the National Authority and enable it to hold peace talks with Israel in a way that can draw respect and recognition of the international community.

“The current political divide in Palestine makes it difficult for Egypt to convince traditional friends of Palestine to back the Palestinian question in international forums,” he pointed out.

“Egypt will host a ministerial meeting of the Quartet (consisting of the United Nations, the European Union, the United States and Russia) on November 8-9.

“The meeting, to be attended by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso as well as representatives of Palestine and Israel, will review the progress made after Annapolis conference,” Abul-Gheit added.

Concerning Egypt’s foreign policy, he said it pursued active and close contacts with major regional players to follow up the developments of the hot issues of the region.

“Our cooperation with countries of the region aims to contain tensions at early stages with a view to achieving the targets of our economic development, attracting more investments and enhancing our national security through a comprehensive perspective.

“We also keep friendly ties with all world countries whether major or small ones in order to serve our national interests and contribute to the international economic development.
“The Egyptian foreign policy in the recent decades has based on three axes namely, achievement of peace in the region through better relations with neighborly countries, achievement of regional stability, and achievement of development,” he went on to say.

“Egypt attributes great importance to its ties with the Nile River Basin countries, the Arab and Islamic countries and the African ones.

“Egypt, an advocator of larger economic assistances to the poorest African countries, will push for fairer commercial ties with and writing off debts of, the African countries during the U.N. Follow-up International Conference on Financing for Development, to be held in Doha, Qatar, from November 29 to December 2, 2008,” he added.