CAIRO: Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu held talks with his Egyptian counterpart in Cairo on Saturday, the first such visit after a decade of on-off relations.

Turkey’s top diplomat also said that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi will meet to mark the end of a decade of estrangement between the two countries.

Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said Cavusoglu met Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry for talks on “various aspects” of bilateral relations.

Shoukry said that the two sides reached common ground to re-launch political and economic relations to reach “results for the benefit of the two countries.”

“The talks were in-depth, transparent and frank,” he said in a televised joint news conference. “We are definitely looking forward. We are looking at everything that can benefit both countries.”

Cavusoglu has spoken of making up for lost time since relations at ambassadorial level ended in late 2013.

“There is a huge level of untapped potential, but unfortunately we lost those nine years, and in order to close that nine-year gap we have to work even harder,” he said.

The Turkish minister added that relations have deteriorated “due to the absence of dialogue and misunderstanding.”

Referring to the appointment of the ambassadors, Cavusoglu said he was sure that diplomatic ties would return to the “highest possible level”. He also mentioned the possibility of an official meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi after the May elections in Turkey.

Relations between Turkey and Egypt were severely strained after then-Egyptian army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi led the overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi, an ally of Ankara, in 2013. Sisi was elected president the following year.

The two countries have also been at odds in recent years over Libya, where they backed rival factions in an unresolved conflict, as well as over maritime borders in the gas-rich eastern Mediterranean.

Consultations between senior Foreign Ministry officials began in Ankara and Cairo in 2021, amid a Turkish attempt to ease tensions with Egypt, the UAE, Israel and Saudi Arabia.

As part of that initial reconciliation, Ankara asked Egyptian opposition television channels operating in Turkey to tone down their criticism of Egypt.

Last month, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry visited Turkey in a show of solidarity after massive earthquakes that killed more than 50,000 people in Turkey and Syria.

Last month, the Egyptian government, which is struggling to manage an acute shortage of foreign currency, said Turkish companies had committed $500 million in new investments in Egypt.

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