Egypt offers condolences over Turkey mine deaths

The spokesman expressed wishes for the speedy recovery for victims from the mine blast.

The spokesman expressed wishes for the speedy recovery for victims from the mine blast.

CAIRO – Egypt on Wednesday offered condolences to Turkey for the death of hundreds of workers in a coal mine fire.

"We express our sincerest condolences to the sister state of Turkey, its friendly people and the families of the victims," Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Badr Abdel-Ati said in a statement.

The spokesman expressed wishes for the speedy recovery for victims from the mine blast.

Some 245 workers were killed in a mine blast and a subsequent fire in western Turkey on Tuesday.

Turkey has declared three days of national mourning – during which flags will fly at half-mast and parliament will be closed – for victims of what is being described as one of the worst mining accidents in the country's history.

Earlier Wednesday, Turkish officials said hopes of finding and rescuing any more trapped miners were "fading."

Relations between Cairo and Ankara turned tense following the ouster by the army of Egypt's elected president Mohamed Morsi last year.

In November, Egypt downgraded diplomatic relations with Turkey to the level of charge d'affaires and recalled its ambassador from Ankara. Turkey reacted with the same measures.

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