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Morsi to visit Saudi Arabia

July 8, 2012 at 8:07 AM
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CAIRO, July 8 (UPI) -- Newly elected Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi will visit Saudi Arabia this week in his first official visit to a foreign country as president, officials said.

Ahmed bin Abdulaziz Qattan, the Saudi ambassador to Egypt, said Morsi will visit Saudi Arabia Wednesday, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said.

Morsi will meet Saudi King Abdallah bin Abdel Aziz and will also make a short pilgrimage to Mecca, Qattan said.

The Saudi ambassador said the visit is aimed at enhancing relations between the two countries as well as boosting economic ties.

"President Morsi promised before when I met with him that Saudi Arabia will be the first country he visits if he becomes president of Egypt and this issue delights us a lot because it shows how proud Egypt's president is of Saudi Arabia," al-Ahram quoted Qattan saying.

Egypt-Saudi ties have been restrained since the ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak and were further tested after Ahmed al-Gizawy an Egyptian lawyer and human rights activist, was arrested on charges of drug smuggling in the Saudi kingdom in April, the Egypt Independent Web site said.

At the time, Egyptians protested outside the Saudi Embassy in Cairo prompting Riyadh to withdraw its ambassador. Following a visit by Muslim Brotherhood leaders to Riyadh, the Saudi ambassador was reinstated in Cairo, but Gizawy remains in detention, the Web site said.

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