Egyptian, Iranian presidents discuss Gaza developments, restoring ties

CAIRO (Reuters) – The presidents of Egypt and Iran discussed recent developments in Gaza and the prospect of restoring diplomatic ties between their two countries in what Iranian state television said on Saturday was their first phone call.

The television said Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi had called his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. The two men met in November for the first time on the sidelines of the Joint Arab Islamic Extraordinary Summit in Riyadh.

“Raisi said Iran was ready to provide all its capacities to stop the genocide by the Zionist regime and send aid to the Palestinians,” Iranian state TV reported, adding that it was the first time the two presidents had spoken by phone.

Relations between Egypt and Iran have generally been fraught in recent decades although the two countries have maintained some diplomatic contacts. Their call follows other moves by countries in the region to east tension in recent months.

Egypt’s Sunni Muslim Arab ally Saudi Arabia and Shi’ite Muslim Iran restored diplomatic relations earlier this year while Cairo has mended a rift with Qatar and re-established ties with Turkey.

(Reporting by Mohamed Hendawy, Writing by Muhammad Al Gebaly; editing by Philippa Fletcher)