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Egypt to Open New Chapter in Relations with Iran, Says Foreign Minister Nabil El-Arabi

CAIRO, April 27, 2011 (Xinhua) --

Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil El-Arabi said his country decided to open a new chapter in relations with Iran after over 30 years of strained ties, local media said Wednesday.

El-Arabi told the independent Al-Shorouk newspaper that he will meet with Iranian Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Salehi on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned summit next month, "which will be a good chance to discuss the future steps in our relationships."

He stressed any normalization of relations between Egypt and Iran will not affect the security of Arab countries in the Gulf region.

"Any progress that could happen between Cairo and any other capital will never marginalize Egypt's support to the Arab issues and rights that is very clear to the Gulf countries," said el- Arabi.

His statement echoed that of Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf, who vowed on Tuesday when visiting Kuwait that an improvement in relations with Iran would not undermine security of oil-rich Arab countries in the Gulf.

After meeting with Kuwait's Parliament Speaker Jassem Al- Kharafi, Sharaf said Egypt considers the security of the Gulf as of great significance and a red line that must not be crossed.

Earlier this month, Egyptian and Iranian officials called for normalization of ties and improving long-frozen relations between the two Muslim countries after the anti-government protests and unrest in Egypt.

Iran severed ties with Egypt after Cairo signed the 1978 Camp David Accords with the Israeli regime and offered asylum to Iran's deposed Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

Editor: Mu Xuequan

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