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Morsi, Ahmadinejad Did Not Discuss Renewing Ties

Egyptian President's spokesman says the meeting Morsi and Ahmadinejad did not address the issues of bilateral relations.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 9/2/2012, 5:27 AM

Morsi shakes hands with Ahmadinejad
Morsi shakes hands with Ahmadinejad
Reuters

The spokesperson for Egypt’s President, Yasser Ali, said on Friday that the meeting Thursday between President Mohammed Morsi and his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned summit in Tehran, did not address the issues of bilateral relations or raising the level of diplomatic representation between the two countries.

Ali told the Egyptian daily Al-Masry Al-Youm that the meeting did not discuss the issue of opening the Egyptian Embassy in Tehran, and the re-normalization of relations between the two sides, but focused on the issues on the regional arena.

He quoted Morsi as having told Ahmadinejad, “The public opinion in the Arab region believes that Iran's support of the Syrian regime distances it from the Arab world.”

Ali added that Morsi reminded Ahmadinejad that the Arab people sided with the Iranian people when the Shah attacked them with tanks. Morsi was likely referring to the crackdown on demonstrators by Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in 1978, during the demonstrations that eventually toppled him.

The Iranian website PressTV reported that Ahmadinejad and Morsi described the two countries as “strategic allies” during the meeting.

According to the report, Ahmadinejad referred to Egypt as “Iran's strategic ally” and expressed the interest of the Iranian nation and government in enhancing cooperation and friendly relations with the Egyptian government and nation.

Morsi’s visit to Tehran was a cause for concern that he would solidify the “terror axis” of Iran – Hizbullah, Syria and Hizbullah-dominated Lebanon in the north and Hamas to the south of Israel.

An official with the Muslim Brotherhood claimed this week that the visit is aimed at pressuring Iran to stop supporting Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The movement’s Secretary General Dr. Mahmoud Hussein said that Morsi would raise the Syrian issue in his talks with the Iranian leadership and demand that Iran cease its military, economic and political support of Assad.

Ali said last week that Egypt and Iran won’t be reinstating normal diplomatic relations any time soon.

Ali said that Morsi’s visit to Tehran for the Non-Alignment Summit is protocol, not a sign of changing diplomacy.