Egyptian-Soviet ties grow warmer
President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt is about to redress some of the foreign policy problems he inherited from the late Anwar Sadat. Egyptian officials and Western diplomats confirm that Egypt will soon exchange ambassadors with the Soviet Union and restore diplomatic ties with Cyprus, Monitor contributor James Dorsey reports.
Less than a month before Mr. Sadat was assassinated, he expelled the Soviet ambassador to Egypt, six Soviet diplomats, and more than 1,000 Soviet technicians. Accusing the Soviets of trying to overthrow him, he stopped short of breaking off relations. Relations with Cyprus were cut after an Egyptian commando raid in 1978 on Larnaca Airport against Palestinians who had killed Youssef al-Sebai, a close friend of Sadat and chairman of the board of directors of Cairo's Al-Ahram newspaper.
Diplomats point to the increased prominence given in the press to contacts between Egypt and the Soviet Union. Soviet Deputy Prime Minister Nikolai Baibakov made a brief stop at Cairo airport last week on his way to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. After a short meeting with him, Egyptian Assistant Foreign Minister Shafei Abdel Hamid said that Mr. Baibakov had brought a ''very important message.'' Last year President Mubarak invited a small number of Soviet technicians who had been expelled from Egypt to return to help run Soviet-built factories.
Meanwhile, diplomats in Cairo have long awaited Mr. Mubarak's move to restore relations with Cyprus. The Egyptian minister of state for foreign affairs, Butros Ghali, conferred with the Cypriot foreign minister at the nonaligned foreign ministers conference in New Delhi last week. The resumption of relations with Cyprus, according to one well-informed source in the Egyptian capital, ''can now be expected any moment.''