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Egypt's top diplomat visits Syria for first time in a decade

Egypt's top diplomat visits Syria for first time in a decade
This handout picture released by the Egyptian Foreign Ministry shows Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry (L) meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (R) in Damascus   -  
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Egypt's foreign minister met Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Monday in what is the first visit by a top Egyptian envoy to Syria since its civil war began in 2011. A significant indicator of healing relations between President Bashar al-Assad and Arab countries.

Assad has benefited from an outpouring of Arab support since devastating earthquakes hit his country and neighbouring Turkey this month, helping to ease the diplomatic isolation he has faced over Syria's civil war which began in 2011.

"I had the honor this morning to meet with President Bashar Al-Assad to convey to His Excellency a message from His Excellency President Al-Sisi, a message of solidarity and sympathy with the Syrian people and our readiness to provide whatever support we can to confront the effects of the earthquake," said Sameh Shoukry, Egyptian Foreign Minister.

When terrible earthquakes struck his nation and neighboring Turkey earlier this month, Assad has benefitted from an outpouring of Arab solidarity, which has helped to lessen the diplomatic isolation he has endured as a result of Syria's civil conflict, which began a decade ago.

"The relations between the two peoples are well-established and strong. We are always working on solidarity and to confront the challenges facing the Syrian people, and we look forward to Syria to overcome the consequences of this earthquake," added Sameh Shoukry.

While Cairo and Damascus have largely maintained relations during the conflict, the Cairo-based Arab League suspended Syria in 2011 and some other Arab countries have severed ties with it.

Cairo's relations with Ankara have been frosty since a 2013 coup that propelled Sisi to power, deposing Islamist president Mohamed Morsi and outlawing his Muslim Brotherhood, many members of which had sought refuge in Turkey.

In November, Sisi and Erdogan shook hands in Qatar, in what the Egyptian presidency heralded as a new beginning in their ties.

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