Egypt says Iran ships can use Suez Canal

By Marwa Awad

CAIRO, Feb 18 (Reuters) – Egypt has approved the passage of two Iranian navy ships through the Suez Canal, an army source said, a move that could annoy Israel, whose foreign minister has called Iran’s actions a provocation.

“Egypt has agreed to the passage of two Iranian ships through the Suez Canal,” the army source told Reuters.

State television and Egypt’s official news agency subsequently reported the news, without giving sources.

Iran’s request was an early diplomatic test for Egypt’s interim military government, which has close ties to the United States and has been ruling since Feb. 11 when President Hosni Mubarak stepped down in the face of a popular revolt.

Egypt’s Western allies are watching for hints of any shift in policy towards its Middle East neighbours, especially Israel with which it has a peace treaty.

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