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Visits highlight Cairo foreign policy change

By Qin Zhongwei (China Daily)

08:22, August 24, 2012

With visits to China, Iran and the United States on the horizon, the Egyptian president is indicating that these are changing times for his country’s foreign policy, analysts said.

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi will start a three-day visit to China on Tuesday, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Hong Lei said on Wednesday.

It is the first visit by Morsi to a country outside the Middle East and Africa since he assumed office in June.

Economic cooperation will be high on the agenda as the Egyptian economy, heavily dependent on tourism, was particularly hard hit during recent political turmoil, according to He Wenping, an expert on the Middle East and African studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

"The world is turning to Asia, as Europe is still plagued by its debt crisis, and Egypt is no exception," she said.

Morsi realizes the importance of economic growth, she added.

The turmoil in Syria, and Middle East affairs in general, will also be discussed during Morsi’s Beijing visit, Ye Hailin, a commentator on Middle East affairs, said.

After visiting China, Morsi will attend the Non-Aligned Movement Summit in Teheran on Thursday, the first Egyptian leader to visit Iran in 30 years.

He will also attend the UN General Assembly session in New York on Sept 23.

Morsi is adjusting the government’s pro-US foreign policy, established under his predecessor, Hosni Mubarak, He said.

Cairo is now trying to diversify its foreign policy and establish relations with a broader range of countries, she said.
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