Egypt's Mursi to visit Saudi Arabia on Wednesday

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 07, 2012 10:55 AM
Egypt's Mursi to visit Saudi Arabia on Wednesday

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi will travel to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday for his first official visit abroad since he was sworn in on June 30, signaling that he wants to maintain the long-standing regional alliance.

Mursi will meet King Abdullah and then make a short pilgrimage to Mecca, Islam's holiest site, the kingdom's ambassador in Cairo, Mohammed al-Qattan, said on Saturday.

Qattan said he "presented President Mursi with an invitation to visit King Abdullah and the Egyptian president has accepted the invitation and will travel on Wednesday.

"President Mursi was careful to make Saudi Arabia his first visit abroad. Both leaders will meet to get to know one another and discuss ways to increase trade and investment cooperation."

Before becoming president, Mursi headed the Freedom and Justice Party of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, the oldest and most established contemporary Islamist Sunni movement.

"Egyptian-Saudi relations cannot be reduced to just economic ties. They are more encompassing than that," said Qattan.

Mursi has received an invitation from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to attend a summit of the Non-aligned Movement in Tehran on August 29 but he is yet to accept.

Ties between Cairo and Tehran were severed in 1980 after Iran's Islamic Revolution and Egypt's recognition of Israel.

A popular uprising against former president Hosni Mubarak and Mursi's election ended six decades of rule by former military men.

(Writing by Marwa Awad; Editing by Janet Lawrence)