BEIRUT: Egypt’s newly appointed ambassador to Lebanon Mohammad Saad said in an interview published Thursday that his country is open to dialogue with all Lebanese sides, including Hezbollah, and said President Mohammad Mursi would be visiting the country soon.
“Despite the past conflicts with some Lebanese parties, I am carrying a message to Lebanon in the current stage that Egypt is open to communication with all parties,” the envoy told As-Safir newspaper.
Saad, who arrived in Lebanon in early September, said that Egypt was seeking to play a positive role to bring all Lebanese rivals closer as part of Cairo’s new foreign policy.
Saad indicated that there was no direct contact between Egypt and Hezbollah.
However he said Egypt had desired dialogue with the Lebanese group.
“Hezbollah is a major and influential political force on the Lebanese arena and a major component in the Lebanese political equation,” said Saad, adding “we don’t seek to rule out any party of the Lebanese equation, and of course Hezbollah is at the forefront.”
Saad also revealed that Egyptian President Mohammad Mursi’s visit to Lebanon will be soon.
“The president discussed his expected visit to Lebanon with his Lebanese counterpart during the meeting of Non-Aligned Movement in Tehran, and it is likely to be close” said Saad.
Ties between Egypt and Hezbollah deteriorated during the era of ousted president Hosni Mubarak ever since an alleged Hezbollah plot in 2009 that saw the arrest of 49 men by Egyptian authorities.
Egypt accused them of being Hezbollah agents planning attacks against Israeli and Egyptian targets in the Sinai Peninsula.
The arrests led to tensions between the Egyptian government and Hezbollah as well as Egypt and Iran.
Mursi, who took office on June 30, is the first Islamist to lead the Arab country and the first civilian head of state since the overthrow of the monarchy in 1952.