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Egypt shelves Brazil visit as Bolsonaro's Israel decision sours ties

Egypt shelves Brazil visit as Bolsonaro's Israel decision sours ties
Brazil's new president-elect, Jair Bolsonaro, waves to supporters as he watches airplanes performing near his condominium at Barra da Tijuca neighbourhood in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil October 31, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Landau   -   Copyright  STRINGER(Reuters)
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By Lisandra Paraguassu

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Egypt has postponed a visit by Brazil’s top diplomat, Brazil’s foreign ministry said on Monday, in a move that two diplomatic sources said was due to the President-elect’s vow to relocate the South American country’s embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

Aloysio Nunes Ferreira was set to fly to Cairo for a Nov. 8-11 visit, during which he was to meet with President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and his counterpart Sameh Shoukry.

Egypt’s foreign ministry postponed Nunes Ferreira’s trip, citing problems with senior officials’ agendas, the foreign ministry said on Monday.

But the foreign ministry sources, who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue, said no new date has been proposed, signalling Egypt’s discontent with Jair Bolsonaro’s proposal.

Egypt’s embassy in Brasilia did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Bolsonaro’s promise to relocate Brazil’s embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv follows a similar move by U.S. President Donald Trump in May, after he recognised the city as the capital of Israel. Palestinians also claim as their political capital.

The U.S. move stirred outrage especially in the Middle East as most countries insist that Jerusalem’s status, as a sacred city to Jews, Muslims and Christians, should be determined in a final peace settlement between Israel and Palestine.

Bolsonaro’s promise breaks with longstanding Brazilian foreign policy in support of a two-state solution to the conflict.

(Reporting by Lisandra Paraguassu; Writing and additional reporting by Gabriel Stargardter in Rio de Janeiro; Editing by Richard Chang)

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