Last updated: 11 January, 2013

Iranian president invited to OIC summit in Cairo

Iranian President President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been invited by his Egyptian counterpart Mohamed Morsi to attend a summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in Cairo next month, media said Friday.

The invitation was extended during a visit to Cairo by Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, who held talks on Thursday with Morsi as well as with his Egyptian counterpart, Mohamed Kamel Amr, Iranian media reported.

The two countries are both part of the 57-member OIC, based in the Saudi city of Jeddah, but have not established relations despite the rise to power of Islamists in Egypt.

Tehran cut ties with Egypt in 1980, a year after the Islamic revolution in Iran, in protest at a peace accord with Israel agreed the previous year by then Egyptian president Anwar Sadat.

The Islamic republic has expressed its desire to normalise relations with Egypt since the overthrow of president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011, but Morsi and his Islamist backers have been cautious on the issue.

The two countries, who currently maintain only interest sections in their respective capitals, have adopted opposing positions on the Syria crisis.

Tehran is committed to the survival of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his regime. It has supplied financial aid and admitted to sending Revolutionary Guards military advisors to Damascus, but does not consider that “foreign” interference on its part.

Egypt’s Morsi, though, has sided with Syria’s rebels, whom he sees as upholding the revolutionary ideals that brought him and his Muslim Brotherhood to power as part of the Arab Spring.

During his visit, Salehi delivered a letter from Ahmadinejad inviting Morsi to visit Tehran, media said.