News / Middle East

    Iranian, Egyptian Foreign Ministers Meet in Cairo

    Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi speaks during a news conference following his meeting with Sheikh Ahmed Mohamed el-Tayeb, Egyptian Imam of al-Azhar Mosque, in Cairo, January 10, 2013.
    Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi speaks during a news conference following his meeting with Sheikh Ahmed Mohamed el-Tayeb, Egyptian Imam of al-Azhar Mosque, in Cairo, January 10, 2013.
    Edward Yeranian
    Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi held meetings in Cairo Thursday with Egypt's president and foreign minister. Salehi was in the Egyptian capital to discuss the conflict in Syria and improving relations between Egypt and Iran.

    The Salehi visit to Cairo comes amid rising tensions between Sunnis and Shi'ites across the Middle East. A focal point of those tensions, the conflict in Syria, was at the top of his agenda as he met with top Egyptian and Arab League officials.

    Salehi told journalists, during a press conference with Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel al Amr, that Iran would like to see negotiations between the opposing sides in Syria begin quickly.

    He said Iran would like to see talks between the Syrian government and the opposition start before it's too late, and that regional states sit down and talk, so as to find a solution between both sides and prevent foreign intervention.

    In an interview with Egyptian TV, Salehi argued that Middle East states were “able to solve their own problems, without resorting to parties outside the region.”

    Salehi, who speaks flawless Arabic, has attempted to bridge the Sunni-Shi'ite sectarian divide during visits to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Egypt, last year.

    Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr said that a peace proposal by Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi, calling for Iran, Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia to jointly negotiate an end to the Syrian conflict, was still on the table. He added that Iran has a key role to play:

    He said there must be an understanding both between Syrians and among regional powers and that it must respond to the legitimate demands of the Syrian people, as was the case in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, in order to spare the Syrian people more bloodshed. Iran, he added, has a role to play in President Morsi's four-party diplomatic initiative.

    A six-point Iranian plan to end the Syrian conflict had a cool reception in most Arab capitals. Saudi Arabia, which supports the Syrian rebels, has repeatedly refused to hold joint talks with Iran about Syria.

    Iran analyst Gary Sick, who teaches at Columbia University, said Iranian diplomacy is trying hard to avoid a major Sunni-Shi'ite conflict in the region, but that the success of that diplomacy is rather limited:

    "What Iran wants to do is pretty clear. They would like to tamp down that sense of a sectarian divide," he said."They would like to be a contributing part of the community, and that's what they're trying to do, and they're going keep trying to do it, but their success thus far has not been very great. They're doing their best, but their best may not be enough."

    Foreign Minister Salehi also met with the sheikh of Egypt's venerable al Azhar University, as well as with the country's newly-elected Coptic pope. Analyst Sick said the visits are symbolic attempts to say that Iran is not a sectarian-oriented state.

    Despite Iran's attempts to portray itself as a non-sectarian partner and neighbor, however, the Arab media has repeatedly complained about what it calls “Iranian meddling” in sectarian conflicts across the region, from Syria to Iraq, Bahrain, Yemen, and Lebanon.

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora