Egypt's president Morsi in Saudi Arabia to speak at OIC summit

Ahram Online, Wednesday 15 Aug 2012

Egyptian president attends Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit in Mecca, meets Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for first time

Mohamed Morsi
Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi (Photo: Reuters)

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi arrived in Saudi Arabia Tuesday to participate in an international summit of the 57-member Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Mecca.

The president was received at the airport by the governor of Jeddah, Prince Meshal Ibn Maged, along with other Saudi officials.

Morsi is scheduled to give a speech in the name of Egypt, as Egypt will head the OIC starting next year for a period of three years, and will host future summits during that period.

On the summit's agenda are the Syrian and Palestinian issues, in addition to the situation of Muslim population in Myanmar who are reportedly suffering from persecution.

The OIC decided on Monday to suspend Syria's membership, a decision that was opposed by Iran, another member.

Attendees of the summit will be looking into possible collaboration and economic integration, aiming for more development across Muslim countries.

During his visit, Morsi is scheduled to meet with a number of Islamic leaders including Saudi monarch King Abdullah to discuss the future of investment and economic cooperation between Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Meeting Ahmadinejad for first time

Upon arriving at the summit, Morsi shook hands with a number of dignitaries, including Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Morsi greeted the Iranian head warmly with an embrace, and both men smiled and greeted each other.

This was the first time Egyptian President Morsi has met Ahmadinejad.

Egypt and Iran have not had full diplomatic relations since 1980, following Iran's Islamic Revolution and Egypt's recognition of Israel.

Early this month, Iran's vice-president Hamid Baghaei travelled to Egypt to meet Morsi, the first time in decades that a high-ranking Iranian official has visited the country.

An Iranian news agency stirred controversy in June when it quoted Morsi as saying that he sought to restore long-severed ties with Iran, a few days after being elected as Egypt’s first president following the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.

However, Morsi swiftly moved to deny that he had spoken to Fars news agency.

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