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Obama invites new Egyptian leader Morsi to meeting

US affirms its commitment to Arab state after election of hard-line Islamist to presidency

US President Barack Obama (photo credit: Official White House/Pete Souza)
US President Barack Obama (photo credit: Official White House/Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama has invited Egypt’s new Islamist president to meet him at the UN in New York in September, a senior official said Sunday.

The invitation came as Obama confirmed America’s commitment to a “new partnership” with the Arab nation, which elected its first civilian to the presidency last month.

US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns told Reuters that Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi had been invited to meet with Obama during the General Assembly.

Earlier, Burns told reporters in Cairo that Egyptians could rely on US support as they try to realize their aspirations. Burns made the statements after meeting Morsi Sunday.

Washington, he said, was looking to see a democratically elected parliament in Egypt, a constitution that protects “universal rights” and an inclusive government.

The election of Morsi, a hard-line Islamist from the Muslim Brotherhood, has raised fears that Egypt may further chill ties with Israel and the U.S.

Burns is the highest ranking US official to meet Morsi since he was sworn last month, succeeding Hosni Mubarak, a close US ally whose regime was toppled in a popular uprising last year.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is also due to travel to Egypt later this month.

Also on Sunday, Israel Radio reported that according to a report in an Egyptian paper, Morsi has offered veteran politician and diplomat Amr Moussa the post of vice president in charge of international relations.

According to the report, Moussa, who served as secretary general of the Arab League from 2001 to 2011 and as Egyptian minister of foreign affairs from 1991 to 2001, is considering the offer. Moussa was also a candidate for the Egyptian presidency, but did not make it past the first round of voting.

 

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