Egyptian President to visit Pak on March 18



Islamabad: Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi will visit Pakistan with a high-powered delegation on March 18 before travelling to India for a three-day official visit.

This will be the first bilateral visit by an Egyptian leader to Pakistan since the 1960s, when the late Gamal Abdel Nasser travelled to the country.

Mursi is visiting Pakistan at the invitation of his counterpart Asif Ali Zardari. "President Mursi's decision to choose Pakistan as the first South Asian country for a bilateral visit manifests Egypt's desire to add a new chapter to its bilateral ties with Pakistan," said a statement from the Foreign Office.

The visit is being seen as "a watershed and a landmark in the traditional and friendly relations between the two large and important Muslim countries", the statement said.

"President Mursi is the first civilian, democratically and freely elected President of Egypt to visit Pakistan," it added.

Mursi's engagements in Islamabad will include a one-on-one meeting with Zardari, delegation-level talks and a banquet hosted by the Pakistani President.

"The two leaders are expected to hold extensive discussions on all areas of bilateral relations, including regional and international issues of mutual interest. They would also be signing a number of agreements," the statement said.

"President Mursi's visit is expected to impart dynamism to bilateral ties and to expand, diversify and strengthen relations between the two countries in all spheres," said Foreign Office spokesman Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry.

On his arrival, Mursi will be welcomed by a 21-gun salute and accorded a guard of honour at the presidency, he said.

Mursi and his high-level delegation of ministers and business leaders are scheduled to visit India during March 18-21.

The Egyptian President was earlier scheduled to visit Islamabad in November to participate in the Developing Eight Summit but cancelled his programme due to the situation in Gaza.

PTI