Shoukry meets al-Assad in Damascus, pledge to boost Syria – Egypt relations

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry met Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus on Monday, in the first visit by a top Egyptian diplomat to Syria since the start of the Syrian civil war about 12 years ago.

During their meeting, Shoukry conveyed a message from Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, who reaffirmed his country’s support for Syria to face the repercussions of the earthquakes, the Media Office of the Syrian Presidency reported.

Shoukry also conveyed the Egyptian president’s willingness to boost and develop relations between the two countries, according to the report.

Shoukry said his country considered the Syrian-Egyptian relationship an essential pillar in protecting the Arab countries, stressing that Egypt will always stand ready to help Syria and its people.

For his part, Assad noted that Syria is willing to enhance relations with Arab countries, especially Egypt.

On Feb. 6, strong earthquakes jolted large swathes of areas along the Turkish-Syrian border and killed tens of thousands of people in the two countries.

Since the deadly quakes, Assad’s government, which was suspended from the Arab League in 2011, has received calls and aid from a number of Arab leaders, including al-Sisi.

On Sunday, Assad received in Damascus a delegation of Arab parliamentary leaders, including Egypt’s Parliament Speaker Hanafy Ali El-Gebali. ■

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