Foreign Minister Julie Bishop appears confident the Egyptian government will grant Australian journalist Peter Greste a pardon over terror-related charges.
Ms Bishop was assured by her Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry there was a “technical or legal hurdle” to pardoning Greste because he wasn’t in the country for the trial.
The Australian journalist’s fellow Al Jazeera reporters Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed were pardoned earlier this week and walked free from an Egypt prison.
However, Greste’s name was not on that list and he remains a convicted criminal.
Ms Bishop held “positive” discussions with Mr Shoukry during United Nation talks in New York early on Saturday morning on a possible pardon.
Standing with Greste after the meeting at the UN General Assembly hall, Ms Bishop told reporters in New York Mr Shoukry had made it clear Egypt would work around current laws to pardon him.
“Foreign Minister Shoukry informed me there was a technical or legal hurdle because he was not present in Egypt for the trial and that causes some technical problem,” she said.
“However, he made it clear they would either change the law or the president would consider being able to use his power as president to achieve the same result.”
Greste cautiously welcomed the news.
“It is great to know, to get that kind of reassurance,” he told reporters.
“But I guess from us it’s not over until it really is over. It’s not over until we get the formal pardons that all of us deserve.”
He said he would do everything he could to clear his name.
Greste and his two colleagues, who were working for news broadcaster Al Jazeera English, were arrested in December 2013 on charges of aiding a terrorist group.
The Australian was convicted and sentenced to seven years behind bars but was deported in February this year and returned home.