Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived in Cairo on Tuesday, marking the first visit of an Iranian president to Egypt in over thirty years.
Egypt’s Islamist President Mohamed Morsi welcomed Ahmadinejad at Cairo airport as he disembarked from the plane, Egyptian television footage showed.
Ahmadinejad, who is the first Iranian president to visit Egypt since the 1979 Iranian revolution ruptured diplomatic ties between the two countries, will attend an Organization of Islamic Cooperation conference in Cairo and will hold talks with Egyptian officials during his three-day visit, Iranian media reported.
The Iranian leader expressed his desire to also visit Gaza during his trip.
“If they allow it, I would go to Gaza to visit the people”, Ahmadinejad said in an interview on the Al Mayadeen news channel, as quoted by Al-Arabiya.
“My wish is bigger than this. I wish to pray in Jerusalem for complete liberation,” he added.
According to Al-Arabiya, Ahmadinejad’s remarks were unclear, as he did not specify whose authority he would seek, and because Iran does not recognize the legitimacy or authority of the State of Israel.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr attempted to quell concerns expressed by a number of Gulf States over the increasingly close ties between Iran and Egypt since President Mohammad Morsi’s rise to power.
“Egypt’s bilateral relations with any country would not come at the expense of Gulf security,” Amr said, as quoted by the daily Egypt Independent.
“Developing Egypt-Iran relations is left to circumstances,” he added.
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