President Morsi in Umrah fatigue with Nasr Zaalouk, Ahram Arabic Daily's reporter, in Jeddah (Photo: Ahram)
President Mohamed Morsi headed to Mecca to begin the Umrah (Lesser) pilgrimage late Wednesday evening after concluding "successful discussions" with Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah Bin Abdel-Aziz and Crown Prince Salman Bin Abdel-Aziz.
In the meeting with the Saudi royal family, the president reportedly talked about increasing Saudi Arabia's investment in Egypt and creating more employment opportunities for Egyptians in the oil-rich kingdom.
Morsi also addressed the land bridge problem, seeing the geographical link as key to increasing commerce and investment exchange between the two Arab countries.
The Crown Prince, for his part, proposed more frequent visits between Saudi and Egyptian officials and businessmen, after the new Egyptian government is formed, in order to support all levels of investment.
They also discussed how best to facilitate the important pilgrimages to key Islamic sites in Saudi.
Both sides agreed on supporting cooperation between Arab nations and strengthening the role of the Arab League in the region.
Yasser Ali, spokesman for the president, described the meeting as one conducted with "understanding and friendliness" and highlighted the bond between the two countries which, he said, are looking forward to a productive collaboration in the future.
Ali added that, in light of the country's newfound political stability following the election of President Morsi, Egypt will continue to attract Arab and foreign investment.
After the meeting, the president and his wife travelled from Jeddah to Mecca in a convoy of 30 cars for the Umrah ritual. Morsi and his entourage performed Al-Fagr (dawn) prayers in Mecaa's Grand Mosque.
The visit to Saudi Arabia was the first official presidential overseas trip after Morsi was sworn in as Egypt's head of state on 30 June 2012.