Sameh Shoukry Egypt FM to tour Gulf in push for political solution

Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry will embark on a Gulf tour to push for a political solution as tensions rise between Saudi Arabia, Iran and Lebanon's Hezbollah, his ministry said Saturday.

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Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry (R) and his Kuwaiti counterpart Sheikh Sabah al-Khaled al-Hamad al-Sabah attend a meeting with officials from a Saudi-led military coalition in Riyadh on October 29, 2017 play

Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry (R) and his Kuwaiti counterpart Sheikh Sabah al-Khaled al-Hamad al-Sabah attend a meeting with officials from a Saudi-led military coalition in Riyadh on October 29, 2017

(AFP)
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Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry will embark on a Gulf tour to push for a political solution as tensions rise between Saudi Arabia, Iran and Lebanon's Hezbollah, his ministry said Saturday.

Shoukry, whose government is closely allied with Saudi Arabia, will carry a message from President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman as well as Jordan during his three-day visit starting Sunday, it said in a statement.

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah has accused Saudi Arabia of declaring war and detaining Lebanon's prime minister Saad Hariri, who resigned last week in a statement from Riyadh citing Iran's "grip" on Lebanon.

Saudi Arabia, which in turn accused Hezbollah and Iran of declaring war against the kingdom, urged its citizens to leave Lebanon.

Shoukry "will affirm Egypt's firm position on the need to preserve Arab unity," the ministry statement said.

He will also "affirm Egypt's policy... that pushes for political solutions to crises and the need to spare the region any more turmoil and polarisation."

Egypt, which has the most powerful Arab army and has depended on Saudi Arabia for aid, has supported the Gulf country against its regional arch-rival, Iran.

But it has displayed little enthusiasm for a Saudi-led coalition's devastating war in Yemen against Iran-backed Huthi rebels.

Cairo has backed the coalition with only a few naval vessels after having pledged to send ground troops if needed.

Sisi told a press conference on Thursday that Egypt fully supported Gulf countries, whose security he called a "red line."

But he also urged caution. "I am not for war. We have had our experience with war," he said.

"The region faces enough turmoil already. We should approach (the tensions) extremely cautiously," he added.

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