Egyptian FM lands in Syria for first time in a decade, meets Al-Assad
The Egyptian FM says his country will do everything possible to assist Syria and its people and develop strong relations between the countries.
Al Mayadeen correspondent to Syria reported on Monday that Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry conveyed to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad a message of solidarity with the Syrian government and people.
The visit comes in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake that struck Syria and Turkey earlier this month, leaving over 50,000 dead, millions displaced, and tens of thousands of homes destroyed or damaged.
During his meeting with Syria's President Bashar Al-Assad, the Egyptian Foreign Minister conveyed El-Sisi's greetings to the Syrian presidency, who also expressed his pride in the long historic relations that both nations share, affirming that Cairo aims at developing these ties.
On his part, President Al-Assad thanked the Arab Republic of Egypt for the aid and support it provided to the Syrian people who are fighting against the aftermath of the catastrophic earthquake that impacted millions in the country, stressing that Syria also aims to develop bilateral relations between the two countries.
Al-Assad noted that Egypt embraced the Syrian people who fled the terrorist war on their country and did not treat them as refugees, which reflects the strong relations between the people of the two nations.
Shoukry, on the other hand, stated that Syrian-Egyptian relations are a vital base to protect the Arab world, stressing that Egypt will always support and back everything that could help Syria, noting that his country will do everything possible that falls in the interest of the Syrian people.
Cairo's top diplomat highlighted the success of the Syrians in Egypt in different working sectors and their fast adaptation and integration into the Egyptian society.
On his part, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi called his Syrian counterpart Bashar Al-Assad to convey Egypt's support to the Arab country that is dealing with the impacts of the massive earthquake.
Egyptian FM meets with his Syrian counterpart
Prior to his meeting with the Syrian President, Shoukry met with his Syrian counterpart Faisal Mekdad who stressed that Egypt's support to quake-struck Syria reveals the strong bonds between the two brotherly nations.
In a joint press conference, Mekdad thanked Egypt's significant role that helped Syria in dealing with the heavy repercussions of the devastating earthquake.
“We welcome the Foreign Minister of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Sameh Shoukry… When he comes to Damascus, he comes to his home, family and country,” Syria's top diplomat said.
The Syrian Foreign Minister also noted that the role played by Egypt in hosting Syrian refugees who fled the country due to the terrorist war can't be overlooked.
For his part, Egypt's Foreign Minister expressed that he is “happy to visit Syria and had the honor to meet President Bashar Al-Assad, and I conveyed to him a message from President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to affirm solidarity with Syria and readiness to continue providing whatever support we can to be able to address the effects of the earthquake.”
He also relayed condolences offered by Egypt's leadership, government, and nation for the country's earthquake victims, wishing the wounded a speedy recovery.
Shoukry added that his country shared the pain of the Syrian people impacted by the quake, stressing that Egypt will continue to assist its brothers in Syria, noting that the relations between the two countries are solid and strong.
Egypt has so far delivered to the quake-struck arab country over 1,500 tonnes of disaster relief aid, as three planes were delivered on Monday to Syria.
Read more: Egypt sends aid to Syria, Turkey
Shoukry's statements did not include any political position, rather, they were limited to the humanitarian aspect of the crisis, Al Mayadeen correspondent noted.
Egypt's top diplomat landed at Damascus International Airport on Monday and was received by his Syrian counterpart Faisal Mokdad, marking a milestone visit to the war-torn country, in a visit dubbed by Egyptian media as "the most senior Egyptian official to visit Damascus" in over a decade.
The Egyptian Foreign Ministry said Shoukry's visit, who departed to Turkey following his Syria stop, aims to relay "a message of solidarity by Egypt with these two brotherly countries after the earthquake."
Read more: Al-Assad in a visit to Muscat: Region now more in need of Oman
It is worth noting that on Sunday, a delegation of senior Arab officials, which include parliament speakers and legislators, landed in Damascus as part of a framework intended to restore the country's membership in the Arab League.
The Speaker of Egypt’s House of Representatives Hanafy Al-Gebaly said, "We are here in Damascus to show our support for the brotherly nation of Syria, and demonstrate our solidarity with it in the aftermath of the devastating [February 6] earthquake."
"We are the same soul. We will stand by Syrians during the current difficult situation," Al-Gebaly noted.
Despite the tense relations between Damascus and most of the Arab governments since the war on Syria started 12 years ago, with the latter severing ties with Syria for over a decade, many Arab leaders who previously attempted to isolate Syria have shown a more diplomatic approach recently, especially following the catastrophic earthquake, on top of which was Saudi Arabia.