By Meghashyam Mali - 07/09/12 11:58 AM EDT
President Obama has invited Egypt's new president to meet him in New York when the United Nations General Assembly convenes in September, an administration official confirmed to The Hill.
The invitation to Mohammed Morsi, a member of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, a group with a violent past, could raise concerns among lawmakers who have questioned continued U.S. support for Egypt.
The Obama administration has taken steps to reach out to Morsi, arguing he is committed to the Arab Spring revolution and will respect the results of democratic elections.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is scheduled to meet Morsi on Saturday.
The Egyptian leader's visit to the United States was first reported by Reuters. “President Obama extended an invitation to President Morsi to visit the United States when he attends the U.N. General Assembly in September," Egyptian aide Yasser Ali reportedly said after a meeting Sunday with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns.
Burns met with Morsi and Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamal Amr on Sunday to discuss ways for the United States to help boost Egypt’s weak economy. Burns said he emphasized “America’s strong commitment to building a new partnership with a new, democratic Egypt, founded on common interest and mutual respect,” according to a statement
“The United States will do all we can to help ensure a successful transition in Egypt,” Burns added.
Some GOP lawmakers have called on the administration to reconsider foreign aid to Egypt and denounce the election of a Muslim Brotherhood candidate.
“The Arab Spring is nothing more than a radical Islamic nightmare,” said GOP Rep. Allen West (Fla.) in a message posted on his Facebook page last month.
Egypt is the Arab world’s most populous state and has been a key U.S. ally. Cairo receives $1.3 billion in military aid annually from the United States.
— This story was updated at 10:22 a.m. with confirmation from the White House of the invitation to Morsi.