Mursi arrives next month

February 09, 2013 - 7:03:46 am

New Delhi: Egyptian Prsident Mohamed Mursi, the country’s first democratically elected president, is to visit India in the third week of March. 

This was revealed by Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty, Secretary of Economic Relations at the External Affairs Ministry, at a conference here yesterday.

“India has actively engaged with the new governments in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia. President Mursi will be visiting India in March,” Chakravarty said while addressing a conference on ‘The Maghreb and India” organised by the Society for Policy Studies, a think tank, and the India International Centre here.

Mursi, who is backed by the Muslim Brotherhood, will be visiting in the third week of March. However, details of the visit have not yet been worked out or the number of days he would be staying, an external affairs ministry official said. 

The visit by Mursi comes at a time Egypt has again been rocked by clashes and massive street protests. Dozens of people have been killed, leading Mursi to impose state of emergency in three provinces. 

The opposition accuses Mursi of betraying the revolution that toppled Hosni Mubarak two years ago and for distorting the constitution, but Mursi has reassured the opposition that there was no going back on “freedom and democracy.

The Maghreb region in northwest Africa contributes 20 percent of the African continent’s GDP and can prove a strong economic partner for India with its reserves of bydrocarbons and metals and also for tourism, said envoys of the region here yesterday.

Rajiv Bhatia, director general, Indian Council of World Affairs, said there has been a “certain sense of neglect of Maghreb by India” and hoped the conference would be a first step in the exercise of connecting with the region.

He also stressed on the need for India and the Maghreb Arab Union to forge new links, including in the exchange of scholars. The Maghreb has an area of over six million sq km. Strategically located, the region provides a valuable transit to southern Europe and the EU market. IANS