Egypt’s Top Official to Tour Gulf Pushing for Political Solution to Rising Tensions

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. Photo: Fayez Nureldine, AFP

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, the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Saturday.

Mr. Shoukry, whose government is closely allied with Saudi Arabia, will carry a message from Egypt’s 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.

“The FM’s tour comes as part of continuous deliberations between Egypt and the Arab brethren about the overall bilateral relations and the situations in the region; particularly, in light of the developments the Lebanese political stage is witnessing, in addition to the growing challenges related to the security and stability of the region in general,” the statement, published on the ministry’s Facebook page, said.

“This calls for intensifying deliberations and coordination between Egypt and the brethren in Arab countries,” it added.

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.

President 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.