Iran’s Ahmadinejad meets Egypt’s Morsi on historic visit to Cairo

Morsi Ahmadinejad Cairo

After red-carpet welcome, Egyptian and Iranian presidents hold 20-minute talk focusing on the civil war in Syria, security officials say; Ahmadinejad is in Cairo for the summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived in Cairo on Tuesday for the first visit by an Iranian leader in more than three decades, marking a historic departure from years of frigid ties between the two regional heavyweights.
Egypt’s Islamist President Mohammed Morsi gave Ahmadinejad a red-carpet welcome on the tarmac at Cairo airport, shaking the Iranian’s hand and exchanging a kiss on each cheek as a military honor guard stood at attention.
The two leaders then held a 20-minute talk that focused on the civil war in Syria, security officials said. Iran is a close ally of the regime in Damascus, while Egypt is among those that have called on Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down.
The discussions were attended by the Egyptian president’s adviser, Essam al-Haddad, his spokesman Yasser Ali and a high level diplomat, the officials said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.
Ahmadinejad’s three-day visit is the latest sign of improved relations between Sunni power Egypt and the Shiite power since the 2011 uprising that ousted longtime Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and brought an Islamist-run government to power in Cairo.
The trip is likely to be closely watched by Sunni Gulf nations, chief among them Saudi Arabia, who is staunchly opposed to Iran’s regional policies and deeply wary of the Shiite nation.
Egypt’s fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood, from which Morsi hails, has signaled that relations with Iran could one day be upgraded to full diplomatic ties. The president himself, however, has stressed that the security of the Sunni Gulf nations — of which Egypt has relied upon for financial aid to help prop up its faltering economy — is directly linked to Cairo’s own.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *