CAIRO: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived in Cairo on Tuesday, marking the first visit to Egypt by an Iranian president since Iran s 1979 Islamic revolution, Egyptian television footage showed.
Egypt s Islamist President Mohamed Morsi welcomed Ahmadinejad at Cairo airport as he disembarked from the plane, the footage showed.
Ahmadinejad, who is on a three-day visit, will attend an Organisation of Islamic Cooperation conference in Cairo and will hold talks with Egyptian officials, Iranian media said ahead of the trip. Before leaving Tehran, Ahmadinejad told reporters that during his visit he would work towards strengthening bilateral ties with Cairo.
“I will try to pave the ground for developing cooperation between Iran and Egypt,” Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying by Iran s official IRNA news agency.
Without elaborating, he said the visit would “definitely influence the bilateral ties” between Tehran and Cairo.
Tehran severed ties with Cairo in 1980 in protest at a peace agreement between Egypt and Israel by then Egyptian president Anwar Sadat. But Egypt has responded cautiously to Iranian efforts to revive ties since Morsi took power in 2012, with the two nations adopting opposing positions on the Syrian conflict.
Iran supports the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, while Egypt has been a leading voice in urging his departure — along with regional heavyweights Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar.
“If Tehran and Cairo see more eye to eye on regional and international issues, many (issues) will change,” IRNA quoted Ahmadinejad as saying.