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Egypt, Iran seek ties normalization with common stance against war threat
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Egyptian and Iranian top diplomats are engaging in talks to boost bilateral ties amid increasing tension over the disputed Iranian nuclear program.


The two nations are expected to resume dialogue to build up an alliance against a potential military action on Iran, which would threaten the whole regional security, experts said.


Efforts to normalize diplomatic ties


Asked about the prospect of normalizing diplomatic relations to the ambassadorial level with Iran, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit said on Wednesday that "we seek to normalize relations with Tehran through constructive consultations."


Abul Gheit's statements came after visiting Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi held talks with senior Egyptian foreign ministry officials on bilateral ties on Tuesday.


The ministry said in a press release following the meeting that the two sides agreed on resuming dialogue, especially in terms of bilateral relations on the level of senior officials and then foreign ministerial level.


Araghchi's visit was the first concrete step taken by Iran after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced in May that his country was ready to open an embassy in Cairo as soon as Egypt agreed to do the same in Tehran.


Bilateral relations between Egypt and Iran, which were frozen after the Iranian revolution in 1979, have witnessed a gradual warming up in recent years. Iran and Egypt currently only have interests sections in each other.


Gamal Mazloum, a retired Egyptian major general and an expert with the Egyptian office of the London-based Gulf Center for Strategic Studies, told Xinhua on Wednesday that Abul Gheit's remarks are a positive step from the Egyptian side.


"Due to Egypt's good relations with the Gulf countries and its regional influence, Iran has resorted to Egypt to assure the Gulf countries that Iran have no aggressive intentions," Mazloum said.


Opposition against war on Iran


As for Iran's disputed nuclear issue, Abul Gheit said Egypt supports a peaceful settlement, expressing Egypt's full rejection of any military action against Iran.


"Egypt supports a peaceful settlement to Iran's nuclear file through negotiations that would allow Iran to use atomic energy for peaceful purposes in accordance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty," he said.


According to Mazloum, the latest developments in the region necessitate Egypt and Iran to come closer to each other and resume dialogue, rather than that Egypt considers Iran as an enemy.


Egypt and Iran are the most influential countries in the region, he said, adding that "Iran plays a key role in the region whether we agreed or not."


If US threats to attack Iran came into reality, it would have a negative impact on the Gulf states, Mazloum stressed.


Moreover, Arab League (AL) Secretary General Amr Moussa on Wednesday voiced an Arab stance against an unjustified war on Iran, saying it would pose a threat to the whole regional stability.


The Cairo-based AL is following up the dangerous Iranian nuclear file, according to Moussa.


He said "if the situation deteriorated and there was a real threat of war against Iran, the Arabs would adopt a unified stance against a war on Iran, which would pose a threat to the region as a whole."


He lammed against hyping reports that war was knocking on the door, calling for holding an Arab-Iranian dialogue, not just a U.S.-Iranian one, in order to help solve the Iran nuclear crisis.


On Sunday, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said that his country had to prepare for the possibility of a war against Iran, following growing tensions over the Iranian nuclear program.


Washington has accused Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons under the cover of a civilian nuclear program.


It has threatened to keep all options open, including military action, while promising to focus on diplomatic means to try to resolve the standoff.


Iran, which always denies US charges, insists that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.


(Xinhua News Agency September 20, 2007)

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