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Egypt pushing for African Union reinstatement - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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A file picture taken on January 16, 2014 shows Egypt's then housing minister Ibrahem Mahlab speaking during a press conference in Cairo on January 16, 2014.  (AFP Photo)

File photo of Egypt’s then-housing minister Ibrahim Mahlab speaking during a press conference in Cairo on January 16, 2014. (AFP Photo)

Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat—The African Union will consider reinstating Egypt at its next summit, after suspending Cairo’s membership in the organization following the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Mursi, Egypt’s interim Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab said on Friday.

Mahlab is currently on a visit to Equatorial Guinea, whose President Teodoro Obiang Nguema announced on Friday that he would invite Egypt’s next president to attend the African Union summit scheduled to take place in the central African state in June.

The African Union also announced that it will send a diplomatic mission made up of parliamentarians, journalists and civil rights activists to monitor the forthcoming presidential elections scheduled for May 26–27.

Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty told Asharq Al-Awsat: “The participation of the African Union delegation in monitoring the elections comes following intensive contacts made by Egyptian officials” with the African Union.

“Countries like Nigeria and South Africa have begun to look at the situation in Egypt in a more positive manner. This is a view that is being increasingly held by more and more African states, and so we are waiting for the African Union to take a different view in the coming period,” he said.

Cairo’s military-backed interim authorities have carried out a strong diplomatic campaign since Mursi’s ouster last year, hoping to mend Egypt’s severed diplomatic ties.

“There are positive steps about the restoration of Egypt’s activities within the African Union . . . in addition to improving relations with the US, particularly after Washington appointed a new ambassador to Cairo,” the spokesman said.

In other diplomatic news, the White House on Thursday appointed career diplomat Stephen Beecroft as its new ambassador to Egypt. The post had been empty since August, when former ambassador Anne Patterson returned to Washington to take up an assistant secretary of state post. Beecroft’s appointment comes following several weeks of visits by high-level Egyptian officials to Washington.