Iranian Shi'ite president to meet Egypt's top Sunni cleric

By REUTERS
February 4, 2013 18:07

 
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CAIRO, - The president of the Shi'ite Islamic Republic of Iran will court Egypt's top Sunni Muslim cleric at al-Azhar university on Tuesday in a historic trip pointing to Tehran's efforts to improve ties with an Arab state now run by an Islamist.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be the first Iranian head of state to visit Egypt since the 1979 Iranian revolution, which led to a rupture in diplomatic relations between two of the most influential states in the Middle East. He is due to attend a two-day Islamic summit in Cairo that begins on Wednesday.

Analysts do not now expect a full restoration of ties, given Egyptian hostility to Iranian support for embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad and Cairo's desire not to damage relations with Israel and the United States.

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