Egypt presidential aides ‘in Iran to discuss Syria’

CAIRO — Senior Egyptian officials visited Iran on Saturday to further a proposal by Cairo for an Islamic quartet that would help to resolve the Syrian conflict, the presidency said.

President Mohamed Morsi’s foreign relations adviser Essam El Haddad led the delegation which included the president’s chief of staff Refaa al-Tahtawi, the presidency said in a statement.

Egypt had proposed that Turkey, Egypt and bitter regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran form the quartet.

Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia support the mostly Sunni rebels in Syria, while Shiite Iran backs the minority-led Alawite regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

The Egyptian delegation’s visit to Tehran comes amid a faltering rapprochement with Iran, after decades of severed diplomatic ties.

The two countries signed a memorandum of understanding in March to promote tourism, but Egypt then closed the door to Iranian tourists following objections by ultra-conservative Islamists.

The two nations severed ties after the 1979 Islamic revolution brought to power a theocratic government in Tehran that opposed Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel.



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