Egypt Says Turkish, Egyptian FMs to Meet in New York

Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and his Egyptian counterpart, Sameh Shoukry, will meet in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry has said.

In remarks to Today’s Zaman, Egyptian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Badr Abdel-Ati said the two foreign ministers will meet in New York, but avoided giving details. “We are still working on the details of the meeting,” he said.

According to the World Bulletin, Abdel-Ati told a local channel late on Monday that it was the Turkish side that asked for the meeting. “Egypt has agreed to the meeting because there is no animosity towards or problems with the Turkish people,” he reportedly said.

Turkish Foreign Ministry sources declined to comment on the meeting.

The meeting, confirmed by the Egyptian side, will be the first diplomatic talks since the coup that took place in the summer of 2013. Bilateral relations and regional developments in Gaza and Syria are expected to be on the agenda of the meeting between Çavuşoğlu and Shoukry.

Turkey’s response to the Egyptian coup last year was seen by Egyptians as one of the most negative. Egypt expelled its Turkish ambassador and scaled back its diplomatic relations with Turkey to the level of chargé d’affaires on Nov. 23 due to then-Prime Minister and current President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s remarks backing ousted leader Mohammed Morsi. Ankara responded in kind, declaring Egypt’s ambassador to Turkey persona non grata.

Despite President Erdoğan’s harsh rhetoric criticizing the new Egyptian government, a diplomatic effort has been seen behind closed doors to mend ties between Cairo and Ankara. Then-President Abdullah Gül congratulated President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi — a former military chief who is believed to have played a key role in the ousting of Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected president — after Sisi was elected and Turkey’s chargé d’affaires in Cairo attended a ceremony marking Sisi’s swearing-in as president of Egypt, indicating the formal recognition by Ankara of the ex-army chief as Egypt’s new leader. However, Erdoğan has kept his hard-line position and said in a speech to EU ambassadors in Ankara that congratulating Sisi holds no meaning for Turkey, as it is unable to congratulate a coup regime.

Egypt did not send any congratulatory message to Erdoğan after his election as president in August.

Source: Today’s Zaman