CAIRO: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is due to attend the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) conference to be held in Sharm El-Sheikh July 11-16.
Iranian Foreign Minister Manoucher Mottaki said Monday, according to the Iranian Mehr news agency, that “Egypt’s President [Hosni Mubarak] has invited Ahmadinejad to participate in this conference, and this trip is on [his] agenda.
If the Iranian president does go to the summit, it would be his first visit to Egypt. It would also be the first visit of any Iranian head of state to Egypt since the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and the cutting of diplomatic ties between the two countries.
Iran is a member of the Non-Aligned Movement, which former Egyptian president Gamal Abdel-Nasser helped found along with five others. The international organization was created to represent countries which were not aligned to either of the superpowers at the time, the US and the former USSR.
“I look forward to welcoming the heads of state and government of the NAM member countries, President Hosni Mubarak said in a welcome message on the conference’s website.
“He has not been invited for his person, but as a head of state of one of the member countries, said Emad Gad from Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, “therefore I do not think there will be any direct contact between him and Mubarak or any other Egyptian officials.
Ahmadinejad has just been reelected as President of Iran in controversial circumstances, with supporters of his rival Mir Hossein Mousavi protesting the elections results in their thousands on the streets of Iran.
A partial recount of the vote has been ordered by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini.
“It remains to be seen what will happen with the fallout of the elections, and whether the protestors will continue their demonstrations, Gad said, “and what result that will have on Ahmadinejad. If the protestors continue to go the distance, this will have an adverse effect on him.
The last conference of the movement was held in Havana, Cuba in September 2006. Egypt, which currently maintains NAM’s presidency, is hosting the upcoming conference.