Shukri to attend Islamic Summit in Istanbul  

Thursday 14-04-2016 01:07 PM

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri, REUTERS

CAIRO Apr 14 (Aswat Masriya) –  Egypt’s foreign minister Sameh Shukri headed off to Istanbul to attend the 13th Summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), marking the first high-level visit midst tense relations between the two countries.

Shukri is set to represent Egypt, which is due to hand over presidency of the OIC to Turkey. Customarily, the position should be handed over by the country’s president, but strained ties between Egypt and Turkey led to Shukri’s substitution for Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

According to the foreign ministry spokesperson, the “fight against terrorism” is one of the dominating topics at the Summit, as well as regional crises, including the Syrian conflict, the situation in Libya, as well as Yemen, Afghanistan, Somalia, and Mali.  

Egypt also requested that the summit prevents people or entities that are involved in perpetrating “terrorist operations” from attending.

Approximately 30 countries are represented at the OIC summit this year, including presidential officials, prime ministers and diplomats.

According to its official website, the OIC is “the second largest inter-governmental organization after the United Nations.” It has a membership of 57 states and describes itself as “the collective voice of the Muslim world.”

Ties between Egypt and Turkey have been strained since Mursi’s ouster by the military following mass protests against his rule. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been openly critical of Mursi's ouster. Last April, Erdogan stated that before Ankara could consider improving ties with Cairo, Egypt should free Mursi from jail and lift its mass death sentences.

In Dec. 2014 Egypt imposed restrictions on Egyptians' travel to Turkey demanding potential travelers to acquire security approvals from designated authorities. 

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