Iran's Ahmadinejad discusses Syria crisis with Mursi
Cairo: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday discussed the crisis in Syria and ways to improve bilateral ties with his Egyptian counterpart Muhammed Mursi during the first visit by the head of the Islamic Republic since 1979 revolution.
Mursi, who gave a red-carpet welcome to Ahmadinejad, discussed ways of boosting relations between the two countries and resolving the Syrian crisis "without resorting to military intervention", Egyptian state media reported.
The Iranian President is on a three-day visit to Cairo to attend the Organisation of Islamic Conference's summit on February 6-7.
Ahead of his visit to Cairo, Ahmadinejad said, "I will try to pave the ground for developing cooperation between Iran and Egypt," Iran's official IRNA news agency quoted him as saying.
Egypt and Iran both enjoy "distinguished standings" on an international level that allowed them to influence regional and international issues, he said.
"If Tehran and Cairo see more eye to eye on regional and international issues, many (issues) will change," the Iranian president said.
Tehran, which severed ties with Cairo in 1980 in protest against a peace treaty Egypt signed with Israel, has sought to renew ties with the country since Islamist President Mursi was voted to power in June 2012.
Egypt, however, has responded cautiously to Iranian efforts to revive ties, with the two nations adopting opposing positions on the Syrian conflict.
Iran stands by 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.
Reacting to Ahmadinejad's visit, the hardline Salafi Dawa has issued a statement listing the points it believes the Mursi government should adhere to while holding talks with the Iranian President.
Apprehensive that Cairo-Tehran rapprochement might be at the expense of the supreme interest of Egypt and Sunnis, the Salafi Dawa party also asked Mursi to confront Ahmadinejad with alleged persecution of Sunnis in Iran.
They have also refused the Iranian president to visit the iconic Tahrir square, the hub of anti-Mursi protest.