Egypt foreign minister: Relations with Iran not at Gulf’s expense

Gulf security is a priority that receives Egypt's full attention, said Foreign Minister Mohamed al-Orabi on Sunday, adding that Egypt’s rapprochement with Iran could never come at the expense of the Gulf.

In an interview with Kuwaiti paper Al-Rai, Orabi said he would soon begin a Gulf tour that would include several countries. Meanwhile Prime Minister Essam Sharaf is to visit the United Arab Emirates on Monday, as well as other Gulf countries.

Orabi said former Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil al-Araby set a framework for Egypt's future relationship with Iran, including specific timelines. He added that Araby said developing relations with Iran should be discussed by Egypt's parliament after it is elected.

Egypt's revolution has created a new strategic reality in the region, Orabi said, adding that its foreign policy will reflect the new conditions created by the revolution, which has become an inspiring example for others.

The independent daily Al-Wafd on Saturday cited a top Egyptian diplomat as saying that Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi criticized Araby in a meeting in March after the latter told the press that Iran is not an enemy and Egypt wants to start anew with Iran.

The paper also quoted the diplomat, who declined to be identified, as saying that Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries have asked Egypt to clarify to what extent Araby's statements were expressive of Egypt's post-revolution policy.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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