Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi on Monday met his Brazilian counterpart Dilma Rousseff in New York City, with whom he discussed means of boosting bilateral – especially economic – relations between the two countries.
Both leaders are in New York to attend the 67th General Assembly of the United Nations.
Rousseff, with whom the Egyptian president discussed the Brazilian experience in democratic transition, is the first South American leader that Morsi has met since becoming Egypt's first democratically-elected president.
Morsi on Monday also met with representatives of New York-based Islamic, Christian and Jewish organisations. Participants at the meeting, which was organised by Egypt's mission to the UN, reportedly discussed a proposed framework for encouraging religious tolerance and so-called interfaith dialogue.
According to Dalia Mogahed, director of the US-based Centre for Islamic Studies and former advisor to US President Barack Obama for interfaith issues, Morsi told his interlocutors at the meeting that, in Islam, "there is no such thing as a theocratic state."
Mogahed, who attended Morsi's meeting with religious figures, asserted via Twitter that the Egyptian president had downplayed recent Muslim-Christian clashes in Egypt as isolated incidents.
On Tuesday, Morsi is slated to attend the morning session of the UN General Assembly. The following day, he is scheduled to address the UN General Assembly, where he is expected to discuss important regional and international issues.
During his sojourn in New York, Morsi will hold meetings with no less than 15 heads of state from around the world, according to presidential spokesman Yasser Ali, including French President Francois Hollande and UK Prime Minister David Cameron. The Egyptian president will also meet with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.