Iran and Egypt resume direct flights suspended in 1979

41853.jpegIran and Egypt, two countries that long have been openly hostile to each other, made a surprise agreement Sunday to resume direct flights for the first time since radical clerics ousted Iran's monarchy in 1979.

Civil aviation and tourism authorities meeting in Cairo signed an accord to begin 28 weekly flights between the two countries but did not specify a start date, media in both countries reported.

The pronouncement baffled observers. The two countries back opposing political camps in Iraq, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories, lack full diplomatic ties and continually snipe at each other, Los Angeles Times reports.

An Egyptian economic activist had earlier announced endorsement of an agreement worth of $1.37bln between his private airline company and Iran's Kish Air Company for the next eight years.

Based on the agreement, the two companies will launch two-way flights between Iran and Egypt in the near future.

The visit by the Iranian delegation is believed to be a prelude to the resumption of ties between the two countries since they broke off official diplomatic relations in 1980. Tehran was critical of Cairo's peace treaty with Israel.

Ties between the two were further strained during the Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip in December 2008-January 2009, according to Fars News Agency.


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