Both Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer and his Egyptian counterpart Hosni Mubarak gave strong messages regarding the future of bilateral relations between Egypt and Turkey in their remarks at a joint press conference at the Çankaya Palace where Mubarak was welcomed with an official ceremony.
The presidents of Egypt and Turkey agreed on Thursday at a meeting in the Turkish capital to establish an official framework that would cover all aspects of strategic bilateral relations between the two countries.
Both Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak and his Turkish counterpart President Ahmet Necdet Sezer gave strong messages regarding the future of bilateral relations between Egypt and Turkey in their remarks at a joint press conference at the Çankaya Palace where Mubarak was welcomed with an official ceremony on the first day of his official visit to Turkey. Describing Egypt as "an important friend and partner at both the bilateral and regional level," Sezer expressed Ankara's determination for strengthening mutual understanding and cooperation with the help of visits between Ankara and Cairo.
"We have come to an agreement on establishing an official framework that will cover all aspects of our strategic relations," Sezer said.
The two also exchanged views concerning regional issues such as the Iraq war and the Palestine-Israel dispute. As for his part, Mubarak said their meeting served as an occasion for revealing strength of bilateral relations.
The two countries share similar concerns over the possible disintegration of Iraq and a mutual understanding exists between Ankara and Cairo on issues concerning Iraq.
Mubarak's visit comes only days before a planned summit of the Arab League that will be held March 28-29 in Riyadh.
Turkey and Egypt are part of a group made up of Iraq's neighbors that are working to resolve the crisis in Iraq. Turkey is likely to host a high-level international conference on Iraq in Ýstanbul in April. Egypt and other Arab countries are pushing for a resumption of the Middle East peace process, trying to convince the West and Israel to deal with a new Palestinian unity government that unites the moderate Fatah faction with the militant Hamas group.
Turkey has also welcomed the new government and has urged all countries to support it, saying it would help re-establish dialogue between Israel and the Palestinians.
Greek Cyprus deal on agenda
Ankara's concerns over an Egyptian-Greek Cypriot deal that paves the way for oil and gas exploration by Greek Cyprus in the eastern Mediterranean was part of the agenda of talks between Egyptian and Turkish delegations at the Çankaya Palace, but not part of tête-à-tête talks between Mubarak and Sezer.
Foreign Minister Ahmed Abdul Gheit and Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Wealth Sameh Fahmi were among the Egyptian delegation while on Turkey's part Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül, State Minister responsible for Foreign Trade Kürþad Tüzmen and Industry and Trade Minister Ali Coþkun participated in talks between the delegations.
Late last month, when they met in Islamabad on the sidelines of a meeting of foreign ministers from seven Muslim countries to discuss the Middle East, Gül and Gheit had already agreed to put together delegations to discuss the Egyptian-Greek Cypriot deal.
Egyptian officials have promised that Egypt will not take a step that could be harmful to Turkey's interests in the East Mediterranean.
Egypt signed a deal with Greek Cyprus in 2005 to delineate their undersea borders in the Mediterranean and the limits of Greek Cyprus' continental shelf. Greek Cyprus signed a similar accord with Lebanon earlier this year. Turkey, which opposes the Greek Cypriot oil and gas exploration plans, warned the two countries to put an end to the agreements, saying Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots also had legitimate rights and interests in the region.Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16