Egypt joining Syria talks, sending peacekeeping troops: reports

Egypt could take part in peace talks between the Syrian regime and rebels next month in Kazakhstan being organised by Moscow, Ankara and Tehran, Russia’s Foreign Minister has said.

Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday that Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Egyptian counterpart President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi discussed in a phone call the possibility of Egypt joining the peace talks.

“Given the importance of expanding the number of guarantor states, we consider inviting our Egyptian counterparts to join these agreements,” Lavrov said, according to Russian state media.

“In the future, at some other stages, perhaps, we need to attract some other key players, which have an impact on developments in Syria. These are Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iraq and Jordan,” he added.

Reports have also emerged that the Egyptian government will soon send peacekeeping troops to Syria to help administer a nationwide ceasefire.

Pro-regime news site al-Masdar News said that the Egyptian forces would be sent in “the coming days” to aid in stopping the bloodshed.

In November, reports emerged that Egypt had sent a military air support unit to Syria in preparation for a large deployment early next year.

Egypt’s foreign ministry later dismissed the report as “imaginary”.

In November, Sisi seemingly expressed support for the Syrian regime’s military in its war against “terrorists”, a position at odds with his country’s Gulf benefactors especially Saudi Arabia.

Iran’s defence minister said on Tuesday that Saudi Arabia should be excluded from the Syrian peace process.

Source: The New Arab