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Egypt rules out Assad
visit to Cairo: report

London-based Al-Arab newspaper reported that Cairo rejected a Syrian request for Assad to visit Egypt.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. (AFP/Khaled Desouki)

BEIRUT – Egypt has allegedly turned down the Syrian regime’s request for President Bashar al-Assad to make a state visit to Cairo, according to a report.

 

The Al-Arab daily reported Monday morning that “Cairo does not want to receive Assad now,” with sources explaining that Egypt does not want to widen the gap in its ties with Gulf States or worsen its fraying relations with Saudi Arabia.

 

The London-based newspaper added that Syrian National Security Bureau chief Ali Mamlouk made the request during his visit to Cairo last week, which was trumpeted by Syrian state media.

 

Political “observers” quoted by Al-Arab said that the Syrian regime’s public touting of the Mamlouk trip aimed to “embarrass Egypt,” an indicator that Cairo turned down Syria’s request for the Assad visit.

 

Syria’s state news agency reported last Monday that Mamlouk “made an official visit to Cairo,” where he met with General Khaled Fawzy, the head of Egypt’s General Intelligence Directorate, as well as other “senior security officials.”

 

“The two sides agreed to coordinate political stances,” SANA claimed, adding that they also decided to “strengthen coordination in the fight against terrorism.”

 

Although Egypt has yet to make any official statements on Mamlouk's visit, media outlets in the country over the weekend reported that Syrian officials had traveled to the country. 

 

Mamlouk’s visit comes after Egypt on October 8 voted in favor of Russia’s proposed resolution at the UN Security Council to institute an “immediate ceasefire” in Syria, a measure defeated by vetoes from the US, France and Britain.

 

Saudi Arabia reacted angrily to Cairo’s diplomatic move with the Kingdom publicly criticizing its long-time ally as rifts between the two continue to grow. Days after the vote, Riyadh suspended its oil aid to Egypt amid mounting tension over a number of issues.

 

Egypt defended its vote in support of Moscow, saying that it supported all efforts to end the conflict in Syria, and also voted in favor of France’s rival resolution.

 

NOW's English news desk editor Albin Szakola (@AlbinSzakola) wrote this report.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. (AFP/Khaled Desouki)

Cairo does not want to receive Assad now.