JNN 6 Feb 2013 TEHRAN – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday began a historic visit to Egypt, where he will attend a summit of heads of state and government of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
The two-day summit is scheduled to open in the Egyptian capital today.
Ahmadinejad, the first Iranian head of state to visit Egypt in 34 years, was received by Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi upon his arrival at Cairo International Airport.
During their meeting, Morsi called Iran an important country, adding that the Syrian crisis cannot be resolved without Iran’s involvement in the efforts to improve the situation, the Persian service of the Fars News Agency reported.
According to the report, Morsi also said that the two countries should enhance their cooperation.
Ahmadinejad described Iran and Egypt as two influential countries in the region, emphasizing the importance of expansion of relations between the two countries.
The Iranian president also met with Sheikh of Al-Azhar Ahmed el-Tayeb hours after his arrival in Cairo.
The Islamic Republic of Iran cut diplomatic ties with Egypt in 1980 after the Islamic Revolution of 1979 because Egypt signed a peace treaty with Israel and offered asylum to former Iranian dictator Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
Morsi visited Iran in August 2012 to attend a summit of the Non-Aligned Movement. It was the first visit of an Egyptian president to Iran in more than three decades.
Relations between Iran and Egypt began to thaw after the election of Morsi, who assumed office on June 30, 2012. However, full diplomatic relations between the two countries have not yet been restored.
Later On in his visit , President also visited the Head of Al Azhar University , Sheikh of Egypt’s Al-Azhar Ahmed al-Tayyeb.
The top Egyptian cleric said in a meeting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Cairo on Tuesday, “We respect you as someone who, apart from his political responsibilities, tries to help the realization of unity among Muslims,”
Tayyeb also stated that Al-Azhar scholars make every effort to eradicate discord among Muslims, and to fight Islamophobia and enmity toward Shia Muslims.
Tayyeb added that discrepancies should not create tensions between Sunni and Shia Muslims. He once again hailed the fatwa issued by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei in 2010 that prohibits insulting the companions of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and his wives.
Iran severed its diplomatic ties with Egypt in 1980, after the Islamic Revolution of 1979, because Egypt signed the Camp David Accords with the Israeli regime and offered asylum to former Iranian dictator Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
Morsi also visited Iran in August 2012 to attend a summit of the Non-Aligned Movement. It was the first visit of an Egyptian president to Iran in more than three decades.