News / Middle East

Egypt's Morsi to Make Saudi Arabia His First Foreign Visit

In this photo released by the Egyptian Presidency, Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Egypt Ahmed Kattan meets with Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, in Cairo, July 7, 2012.
In this photo released by the Egyptian Presidency, Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Egypt Ahmed Kattan meets with Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, in Cairo, July 7, 2012.
Margaret Besheer
CAIRO - Egypt's new president Mohamed Morsi will make his first overseas trip to Saudi Arabia.  Analysts say his choice of a strong Sunni Muslim country with deep pockets is significant.

President Morsi will visit the conservative Islamic kingdom of Saudi Arabia on Wednesday where he is expected to meet with King Abdullah as well as visit the holy city of Mecca where he will perform Umrah - a form of Muslim pilgrimage that can be performed any time during the year.

Under Morsi's predecessor, Hosni Mubarak, Egypt had close relations with Saudi Arabia, and political analyst Hisham Kassem says that is likely to continue.

"They [the Saudis] will be very interested in maintaining good relations with Egypt as they did with Mubarak. It is in everyone's interest," said Kassem.

Unemployment is high in Egypt and chairman of the Jeddah-based Gulf Research Center Abdulaziz Sager says encouraging Saudi Arabia's private sector to invest in Egypt is likely to top Morsi's agenda.

"I am sure he wants to attract them again to continue their investments in Egypt and to assure them of the stability and the political stability in Egypt," said Sager. "At [the] same time, also if he can increase the sort of export of manpower from Egypt to Saudi Arabia that will help, because the remittances from Egyptian laborers to Egypt in Saudi is quite significant also."

Sager says Saudi Arabia was one of the first countries to show serious economic support for Egypt, committing more than $4.5 billion to the country. Saudi Arabia is also a major shareholder in the Islamic Development Bank, which signed a $1 billion cooperation agreement last week with Egypt to support its food and energy sectors.

Hisham Kassem says Morsi, who was a long-time member of the Muslim Brotherhood, may also see in Saudi Arabia a potential lender with similar Islamic values.

"Given Morsi's political persuasion and aversion to international monetary institutions, I think he will try and get basically Islamic-backed economic backing, as opposed to other monetary institutions, that they might consider dealings with them to be anti-islamic or usury," said Kassem.

From Saudi Arabia's perspective, analysts say the Saudis see their investments as contributing to political stability in Egypt as well as potentially off-setting Shi'ite Iran's creeping influence in the Middle East.

President Morsi also plans to travel to the African Union's headquarters in Addis Ababa next Sunday.

Abdulaziz Sager says Egypt used to have strong relations with Africa and President Morsi is looking to reinforce those ties. Egypt, which shares the Nile River with eight other countries, also needs good relations so it can negotiate important water issues with its African neighbors.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
July 09, 2012 5:35 AM
This visit to Saudi Arabia is just not to betray his hunger for Iranian-type revolution, otherwise his first trip would have been Iran to team up with Ahmadinejad against their common enemies. Maybe he will still make other trips elsewhere to mask his desire for this, but somehow we learned of his immediate reach out to the people of Iran first thing after his election victory. Action really speaks louder than voice: nothing born of a snake will ever grow vertical! All the noise about hajj is diversionary.
In Response

by: Iran is a Farce from: Iran
July 09, 2012 8:22 AM
Godwin, its not the PEOPLE of iran he is looking to align Egypt with... but its the barbaric Iranian Islamic regime that oppress, rape, mutilates us every day. and I agree with Robert (UK), its very hard to trust anyone now days in Iran... you simply don't know who is informant of the Islamic regime and the punishment is very harsh... believe me.

by: Persian
July 08, 2012 6:08 PM
It is funny that an Iranian news Agency, Farsnews, close to the Revolutionary Corps, claimed that they have interviewed Morsi and he insisted that he will travel to Iran first and not to Saudi Arabia! They insisted the interview was genuin despite the fact that Egypt denied the interview!!!
In Response

by: Robert Morgan from: UK
July 09, 2012 7:02 AM
why are you surprised...??? lying is a genetic affliction of Iranians... they lie not to gain and look foolish later, but because its in their genes... the really ugly secret is that Iranians do not trust themselves about anything...

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs