Hani al-Gamal – Cairo
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry received his Armenian counterpart Armen Sarkissian Zohrab Mnatsakanyan in Cairo on Sunday.
Mnatsakanyan is on a four-day visit to the Egyptian capital to discuss cooperation. The two ministers held talks on the means of enhancing bilateral relations at all levels. Shoukry said Cairo holds its historical relations with Yerevan in high esteem. Shared positions between the two countries, the Egyptian minister said, bring them even closer.
Egypt backs efforts aiming at bringing about a peaceful settlement to the dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the Egyptian minister said. Armenia and Azerbaijan are locked in a conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, a mostly ethnically Armenian breakaway region of Azerbaijan.
After the Soviet Union collapsed, ethnic Armenians in the territory declared their independence from Azerbaijan. However, Azerbaijan still considers the area part of its sovereign territory.
Shoukry and Mnatsakanyan also discussed a wide range of issues of mutual concern, especially Turkish practices in the Eastern Mediterranean. Mnatsakanyan praised the efforts Egypt has made to bring about peace in regional hotspots, including in Libya.
He said Armenia backs these efforts which favour dialogue among Libya’s rival parties. Armenia, he added, is keen on cementing its ties with Egypt, exploring new investment opportunities, and increasing trade.
Mnatsakanyan invited Shoukry and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to visit his country. Armenia’s top diplomat arrived in Cairo from the United Arab Emirates where he held talks with a host of government officials.
His visit to Cairo will include a series of high-profile meetings, including one with Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Abul Gheit.
Mnatsakanyan is scheduled to meet the Grand Imam of al-Azhar Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyip and Pope Tawadross II of the Coptic Orthodox Church. He will also meet representatives of the Armenian community in Egypt.