ANKARA (AA) – Turkey and Egypt have started diplomatic-level contacts after years-long hiatus with disruption of relations in 2013, according to the Turkish foreign minister.

“We have contacts both at the level of intelligence and foreign ministries with Egypt. Diplomatic-level contacts have started,” Mevlut Cavusoglu said in an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency and TRT.

Noting that neither side put forward preconditions, Cavusoglu said ties distracted for years could not be built at once and easily.

He said having a lack of trust is also normal in such situations and may occur for both parties.

“For this reason, negotiations take place and continue under a certain strategy, road map,” Cavusoglu said.

Afghan peace process

On the US offer to the Turkish government to host a senior-level meeting between the Afghan government representatives and the Taliban in the coming weeks to finalize a peace agreement, Cavusoglu said Turkey had been involved in the process since the beginning.

“We are one of the few countries invited to this signing ceremony, and we are one of the most important actors in Afghanistan,” he noted.

Last week, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in a letter to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, said Washington intends to ask the UN to convene foreign ministers and envoys of Russia, China, Pakistan, Iran, India, and the US to discuss how to promote peace in Afghanistan.

Turkey is trusted by both parties of the negotiation, Cavusoglu said, and noted: “Both the Taliban and the negotiation delegation, meaning the government side, had asked us to host such a meeting before.”

He stressed that Turkey would also appoint a special envoy for Afghanistan to contribute to the process.

Cavusoglu added that the meeting will not be an alternative to the Qatar process but will be a supporting one.

“We will do this [meeting] in coordination with brotherly Qatar,” he said, adding that the aim is to make the negotiation continue in a result-oriented manner.

Cavusoglu said he believes that Turkey will contribute significantly to the meeting, which is planned to be held in Istanbul in April.

*Contributions and writing by Sena Guler.

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