Last updated: 11 September, 2012

Egypt’s Morsi to embark on first EU visit

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi travels on Thursday to Brussels for talks with European Union leaders on his first trip to Europe since his election, the EU said in a statement.

Morsi, who in June was elected Egypt’s first Islamist leader following an uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak early last year, is due to meet EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso.

“The European Union is very much looking forward to President Morsi’s first visit to Brussels, as it is an opportunity at the highest level to reiterate the EU’s support for Egypt’s democratic transition and our eagerness to engage with the country’s new civilian authorities in furthering our partnership,” the statement said.

The EU also stressed “the fundamental importance of a speedy finalisation of a new constitution that safeguards the rights and freedoms of all Egyptians, and the holding of parliamentary elections as soon as possible afterwards that will complete the process.”

“The EU stands ready to step up its contribution to Egypt’s economic recovery, continue strengthening trade and investment flows and further reinforce contacts between our peoples.”

After Brussels, the Egyptian president will head to Rome for talks with his Italian counterpart Giorgio Napolitano and Prime Minister Mario Monti, Egyptian officials said.

Since his election in June, Morsi has visited Saudi Arabia, China and Iran. He is due to travel to New York at the end of September to attend the UN General Assembly.