Turkish, Egyptian ministers hold first call since Ankara's push to repair ties

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry speaks after meeting with Lebanon's President Michel Aoun at the presidential palace in Baabda, Lebanon April 7, 2021. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

ANKARA, April 10 (Reuters) - The foreign ministers of Turkey and Egypt spoke by phone on Saturday, the Turkish foreign ministry said, their first direct contact since a push by Ankara to improve strained ties between the regional powerhouses.

The two ministers exchanged good wishes over the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which starts next week, the ministry added, but gave no further details.

Last month, Turkey said it had resumed diplomatic contacts with Egypt and wanted to improve cooperation after years of tensions since the Egyptian army toppled a Muslim Brotherhood president close to President Tayyip Erdogan in 2013. read more

"Our Minister Mr Mevlut Cavusoglu spoke with Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry with the aim of reciprocally celebrating the month of Ramadan," the ministry said.

A thaw in ties between the two nations could have repercussions around the Mediterranean. They have backed rival sides in the war in Libya and sealed conflicting maritime deals with other coastal states.

Cairo has said Turkey's actions "must show alignment with Egyptian principles" to normalise ties. read more

Last month, Ankara asked Egyptian opposition TV channels operating in Turkey to moderate criticism of Cairo, in the first concrete step to ease tensions. It also offered to help Egypt resolve a blockage on the Suez Canal. read more

Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by Dominic Evans and Pravin Char

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