Ahmadinejad: Egypt's role in Non-Aligned Movement undeniable
TEHRAN - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has invited his newly elected Egyptian counterpart, Mohamed Morsi, to a summit of Non-Aligned Movement nations to be held in Tehran in late August, his presidency website said on Thursday.
"Your excellency's presence as the current head of the Non-Aligned Movement at Tehran's summit would be effective in progressing negotiations and decisions," Ahmadinejad was quoted telling Morsi by telephone.
"Egypt's role in this movement is undeniable, and constructive cooperation between Iran and Egypt in this movement can have many positive outcomes," he added.
The presidency website said that Morsi replied by saying he "hoped' to meet Ahmadinejad in the Tehran summit. It did not say when the telephone conversation took place.
The site quoted Morsi also saying: "The Non-Aligned Movement is an important meeting which is like an umbrella covering many Islamic and non-Islamic nations, and I hope to witness the realisation this international organisation's aims."
The Non-Aligned Movement is a grouping of nations that consider themselves independent of the world's major political blocs.
Ahmadinejad last month called for stronger ties between Iran and Egypt after Morsi's presidential election victory.
Diplomatic ties between the two countries have been cut for the past three decades, following Iran's Islamic revolution and Egypt's signing in 1980 of a peace pact with Iran's arch-foe Israel.
Morsi, a Muslim Brotherhood politician who quit the powerful Islamist movement after his victory, became Egypt's first democratically elected president since the ouster of veteran pro-US leader Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
Iran's clerical leadership contends that the Arab Spring that toppled Mubarak and other long-time US allies in the Arab world last year was inspired by its own 1979 Islamic revolution.
Although Iran's predominant faith is Shiite Islam and the Muslim Brotherhood adheres to the Sunni branch of Islam, Tehran has been reaching out to the organisation in Egypt in recent months.