Mahlab travels to Washington heading Egyptian delegation to US–African Summit
Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab - YOUM7 (Archive)

CAIRO: Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab is expected to arrive in Washington DC Sunday for a 4-day visit as the head of the Egyptian delegation to the United States–African Leaders Summit, al-Tahrir reported Saturday.

Mahlab is supposed to deliver a speech at the summit that shows the Egyptian role in achieving sustainable development in the African continent to raise the standards of living and develop its resourses.

President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi announced earlier along with Morocco’s King Mohamed VI, that they will skip the African summit without enclosing reasons, as it was reported earlier that the U.S. was uncertain about inviting Egypt.

“The Egyptian president and the king of Morocco will not attend the summit,” an official told AFP, asking not to be identified.

Egypt had not received any official invitation to attend the summit due to the suspension of its membership in the African Union, after the deposing of former President Mohamed Morsi, said Marie Harf, Deputy Spokesperson for the State Department in a press statement last January.

Later in June, Egypt was re-admitted to the African Union and received an invitation to attend the African Summit.

Many political figures have seen that Sisi’s decision not to attend the summit is wise, explaining that it is considered a response to the delay of sending the invitation, however, others do not agree saying that sending the invitation was timed suitably.

Ambassador Mona Omar told Sada Al-Balad Saturday that Sisi’s decision represents a strong response to U.S. allegations that it won’t invite Egypt to attend the summit, adding that holding bilateral meetings between the presidents is very basic protocol principals that are supposed to be held to welcome African Leaders, which wasn’t scheduled during the summit.

Another diplomatic Egyptian source that requested anonymity denied in statements reported by  Al-Hayat July that President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi refused to attend the summit because of the delayed invitation, adding that “it included embracing phrases from the American president.”

According to AFP, only four African nations will not attend the summit: the Central African Republic, Eritrea, Sudan and Zimbabwe.

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