Obama Invites Egypt's Morsi To U.S.
07/12/2012 - 18:18
Douglas Bloomfield

One of the first chores facing Egypt's new president, Mohamed Morsi, is to convince his country's neighbors and allies that he and the Muslim Brotherhood, which he headed before the election, don't plan to export the revolution that brought the Islamists to power in the presidency and the parliament.

He took that message this week to Saudi Arabia and look for him to bring it to the United States this fall.  President Obama has invited Morsi to meet with him in September when both attend the United Nations General Assembly meeting.

The invitation, in a personal letter from President Obama, was delivered Sunday by Deputy Secretary of State William Burns in Cairo and will no doubt be repeated when Secretary Hillary Clinton arrives in Egypt on July 14. 

Morsi made his first official foreign trip on Wednesday when he went to Saudi Arabia to firm up relations with the kingdom, where it was no secret that some top officials there would have preferred to see his secular rival win last month's runoff election. 

In between those two trips Morsi may be going to Tehran in August for the Non-Aligned Movement's summit meeting when Iran succeeds Egypt in the organization's rotating presidency. There is no official word yet from Cairo, although the Iranians would see it as an opportunity to drive a wedge between the Egyptian Islamist president and his American allies, and a great victory in Tehran's broader campaign to weaken Western influence in the region and make the Israelis nervous. 

One of those who will be going to the Tehran conference is Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, his office announced this week. He is always in search of opportunities to show his displeasure with the Americans and Israelis and head off potential threats from his own Islamists in Hamas.

It is not yet clear whether Obama and Morsi will meet in New York or Washington this fall, or whether Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential contender, will try to upstage Obama by stopping Cairo for his own meeting during his planned Middle East trip later this summer. And don't be surprised if the Senate's Three Amigos – John McCain (R-AZ), Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Lindsay Graham (R-SC) – drop in on Morsi during the Congress' next long recess.

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