Egypt’s new president heads for African summit

Newly-elected Egyptian president Mohamed Mursi will attend the African Union’s (AU) African summit in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on 15-16 July. Mursi’s participation marks the first time in 17 years that an Egyptian president has attended the African Summit, after his predecessor Hosni Mubarak ceased attending following a 1995 assassination attempt in Addis Ababa. 

Prior to Mursi’s trip to the Ethiopian capital, he will welcome US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Cairo on 14 July. Washington is keen to offer its support to Mursi despite the fact that he does not have a cabinet in place and is without a parliament.

In a move to clear a number of domestic issues before he embarks on his first international engagements Mursi has said he will respect Egypt’s supreme court ruling that overturned his decree to reconvene the dissolved Islamist-dominated parliament on 10 July.

The court overturned Mursi’s order to reconvene parliament on the grounds that his action was illegal under the terms of legislation ushered in by the country’s governing council of generals only days before the election of the new president.

Many of the minority liberal groups in parliament boycotted the parliamentary session called by Mursi on the grounds that he was violating his powers under the terms of the existing constitution.

The orders and counter-orders in recent weeks have heightened the power struggle between Mursi, liberal non-sectarian groups and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) which has ruled Egypt since the ousting of former president Hosni Mubarak 17 months ago.