Brussels: European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has welcomed the inauguration of Mohamed Morsi as Egypt`s new president.
"We congratulate President Morsi on his inauguration. This is a moment to celebrate the first democratically elected President in Egypt`s history," Ashton said in a statement issued following Saturday`s inauguration ceremony in Cairo.
"We know that there are many challenges ahead and look forward to working with him and his future government as he leads the country into the next crucial stage of its transition," she added.
Islamist Morsi was sworn-in before Egypt`s highest court Saturday, after narrowly defeating former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq in run-off elections in mid-June. He succeeded Hosni Mubarak who was ousted 16 months ago in a popular uprising.
On Saturday, in his inaugural speech before Egypt`s Supreme Court, Morsi, the former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood`s political wing, pledged to defend the country`s republican system, sovereignty, independence and integrity, safeguard the interests of the Egyptian people, and observe the constitution and national laws.
Morsi, who has called for national unity and pledged to form a coalition government, left the Muslim Brotherhood`s Freedom and Justice Party shortly after winning the race. He had garnered about 52 percent of the vote in the June 16-17 elections.