Egypt urges Turkey to ease tension with Israel

Egypt urged Turkey on Wednesday to ease current tensions in the latter’s relations with Israel in order to restore the Turkish role in resolving regional disputes.

Cairo denied the existence of competition with Ankara in terms of regional leadership, saying that Turkey’s diplomatic role merely complemented its own.

“If Turkey is to resume playing its part in regional issues, its troubled relations with Israel will not help it– and Ankara is aware of this fact,” said presidential spokesman Suleiman Awwad.

In a press statement following a meeting between Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul, Awwad told reporters that, “Both the Israeli and Turkish sides will work on containing tensions by a number of means, which were reflected at a recent meeting between Israeli Infrastructure Minister Benjamen Ben Eliazer and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu” in Munich, Germany.

Awwad went on to stress that the tension had a negative impact on the two countries’ ability to play their roles or to offer mediation. Awwad also hoped for progress on the Syria-Israel peace track, with Turkey and Arab states contributing on this front.

“Egypt is not afraid of the part Turkey is playing in the region”, Awwad noted. “Egypt is not seeking a renewed regional standing since its role has been secure for years. The Palestinian factions admit the centrality of our role.”

Asked whether Turkey would be permitted to take part in the reconciliation process between Palestinian factions, Awwad answered: “The Turkish role completes Egypt’s role, as has been noted by Turkey’s president, prime minister and foreign minister.”

He added that Turkey was attempting to consummate Egypt’s role by providing support both on the level of peace negotiations and in terms of Palestinian reconciliation. Awwad concluded by saying that Egypt remained adamant in its position on the issue.

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