Egypt’s Tantawi expresses hopes of ending Syrian-Egyptian estrangement

A Syrian news agency reported that Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, chairman of Egypt's Supreme Council of the Armed Forces–which has been temporarily in charge of Egypt since February 11–has expressed a hope that the six-year estrangement between Egypt and Syria will come to an end end.

The agency said on Friday that Syrian President Bashar El-Asad sent a letter to Tantawi which hoped for "the restoration of stability in Egypt so it can continue its role in the Arab world."

Tantawi in turn expressed gratitude to El-Asad, and said he hopes that a new leaf will be turned over between the two countries. Tantawi also said he hopes to meet El-Asad as soon as possible, reported the news agency.

The relationship between Syria and Egypt was strained by the 2006 conflict between Hezbollah and Israel, during which El-Asad criticized Egypt's position against Hezbollah. What's more, the strong relationship between Damascus and Tehran has created fears among "moderate" Arab countries that Iran's influence in the Arab world could strengthen.

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