EGYPT. Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi plans to attend a summit in Iran this month, state media reported on Saturday, on the first such visit since Cairo severed ties with Tehran more than three decades ago.
The official MENA news agency quoted a source in the presidency as saying Morsi will attend the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Tehran on August 30-31 at which Egypt will transfer the bloc's rotating leadership to Iran.
Cairo and Tehran severed diplomatic relations after the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran, and Egypt has accused Tehran of backing militants on its turf.
Morsi, the country's first Islamist president, has been expected to improve ties with Tehran since his inauguration on June 30. It is unclear whether Morsi will hold two-way meetings with Iranian officials during the visit.
Under ousted president Hosni Mubarak, several attempts were by trade ministers and business leaders to bolster economic ties. But they stirred objections from the foreign ministry and intelligence circles, officials said at the time.
On Thursday, the United States said it had told Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that the NAM summit in Iran sent a "strange signal" after Tehran reported that the UN chief would also attend.