Inclusion of Egypt in Lausanne Talks Was Iran’s Pre-Condition: Report

Iran FM

A report shows that Iranian Foreign Minister had sent an e-mail to his American counterpa

According to a Thursday report by The Guardian, as covered on Sunday by Jomhoori Eslami newspaper, the Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif personally requested that Egypt attend last weekend’s key Syria talks – a move that has sparked concerns that Cairo is being wooed away from its traditional pro-western stance in the region.

Talks convened by the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, in the Swiss city of Lausanne last Saturday evening failed to agree on a common strategy with Russia to end the conflict in Syria, now in its sixth year.

The Guardian has seen emails indicating that the Iranian foreign minister asked Kerry for Cairo’s team to attend the Lausanne talks. When the US secretary of state proposed six-nation talks to “see if a new reasonableness can manifest itself” in Syria, Zarif replied: “Why not Egypt too?”

Iran agreed to attend the talks only once it had secured places for the foreign ministers of Egypt and Iraq at the discussions. Both countries back the pro-Assad stance of Iran but Egypt is seen as significant because it is the most populous Sunni Arab nation in the Middle East.

Iran was also keen not to be outnumbered by an anti-Assad coalition – comprising Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United States – at the Lausanne talks.

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