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Egypt's FM: Better Iraq Security Allows Closer Ties


Egypt's top diplomat says he is working to increase his nation's presence in Iraq as security there improves.

But Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit Tuesday cautioned building relations between the two countries will take time.

Gheit visited Baghdad earlier this month, marking the first visit to Iraq by an Egyptian foreign minister since Saddam Hussein's forces invaded Kuwait in 1990.

Egypt pulled all diplomatic representatives out of Iraq in 2005, after al-Qaida in Iraq militants killed Cairo's envoy to Baghdad.

The United states has been urging Iraq's Sunni Muslim neighbors to send ambassadors to Baghdad to support the country's Shi'ite government and counter Iran's influence. Iran is a mostly Shi'ite Muslim nation and already has an embassy in the Iraqi capital.

On Monday, the Iraqi government announced the arrival of Syria's first ambassador to the country in nearly three decades.

The United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Jordan, Bahrain have all named envoys to Iraq. Also, Saudi Arabia has pledged to name an ambassador.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.


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