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Cairo keeps itself front and center in Syria negotiations

Egypt seems to be in demand as a negotiator between the Syrian regime and opposition forces, as the new UN envoy to Syria says he wants Cairo involved.

CAIRO — Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, during a Feb. 18 meeting with members of the Institute of International and European Affairs in Dublin, said his country upholds the principle of national unity and sovereign integrity in Syria. Some diplomats speculate that Egypt has become the only Arab country to be considered a mediator in the Syrian crisis.

In the past two months, Egypt has hosted a series of high-level visits by international officials to discuss developments in resolving Syria's nearly eight-year-long civil war. Most importantly, UN special envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen visited Cairo on Jan. 28. A Foreign Ministry statement that day said Pedersen is “keen on Egypt being among the main countries to discuss the developments unfolding in Syria and on considering Cairo’s vision on moving forward in the political process to resolve the crisis.” Shoukry is calling on Pedersen to help break the deadlock in negotiations in a bid to reach a political solution.

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