The family of Mohamed Fahmy has confirmed that the Egyptian-Canadian journalist has given up his Egyptian citizenship in the hope that it will get him released from a Cairo prison.

His fiancee, Marwa Omara, says Egyptian authorities essentially made freedom for Fahmy, who was arrested in 2013 and has been in jail since, conditional on doing so.

Marwa Omara told The Canadian Press that it was a very difficult decision for Fahmy because he is a "proud Egyptian who comes from a family of military servicemen."

She says authorities have told him he can return as a tourist.

Baird confident release is imminent

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird has said he's in touch with his Egyptian counterpart, Sameh Shoukry, and is hopeful Fahmy will be released from jail soon.

He told CBC on Monday that Fahmy's release was "imminent" but declined to provide any more details.

Thomson Reuters has reported that the Al-Jazeera journalist will be released from prison within days.

Baird said he welcomes Sunday's release of Al-Jazeera English reporter Peter Greste, calling it a positive development.

Greste, Fahmy, and Egyptian Baher Mohamed were sentenced to at least seven years in prison on terrorism-related charges last year in a trial derided as a sham by human rights organizations.

The three were arrested over their coverage of the violent crackdown on Islamist protests following the military overthrow of President Mohammed Morsi in 2013.

Egyptian authorities accused them of providing a platform for Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, now declared a terrorist organization.

Foreign Affairs said in a statement that Baird thanked Shoukry for his continued friendship to Canada when they talked on Sunday.