True or False: Did Obama really say he was ‘looking forward’ to Mursi’s visit?
Egypt’s Mohammad Mursi’s English language skills came into question once again, after the recently elected President seems to have misinterpreted a phone conversation with his American counterpart, Barack Obama.
A spokesman for the Egyptian president claimed in a recent report that U.S. President Barack Obama told Mohammed Mursi in a phone interview that he was “looking forward” to the Islamist leader visiting Washington this year.
But according to a White House statement, the planned visit that was talked about in the phone conversation was that of Secretary of State John Kerry to Egypt on March 2.
"The President noted that Secretary Kerry will be traveling on March 2 to Egypt, where he will meet with government and opposition leaders and members of civil society, and will emphasize the need for all Egyptians to work together to build their democracy and promote economic stability and prosperity,” according to the statement.
Asked if there was a planned visit by Mursi to the United States, the White House told Al Arabiya in a statement: “We have no scheduling announcements to make.”
The dialogue carried out between the two presidents on Tuesday discussed the efforts needed to achieve economic and politic stability, according to the U.S. version of the story.
The U.S. Embassy in Egypt also published a summary on its website containing a brief of the talks between the two parties without mentioning Obama’s alleged “looking forward” to Mursi visit.
The inconsistency between the U.S. and Egyptian versions of what might have been discussed was quickly picked by local media and observers in Egypt and in the region, with some suggesting that Mursi’s office was “lost in translation.”
Some argued that Obama told Mursi about Kerry’s visit and Mursi misunderstood and thought the U.S. president is inviting him to visit Washington.
“White House report never mentioned anything about the visit of President of Egypt to Washington, sorry incorrect report from the Egyptian president,” said Fouad Boctor, a Facebook user who commented on the Egyptian presidential statement.
Egypt’s widely circulated newspaper Almasry Alyoum published a piece highlighting the inconsistency and prompting a barrage of reader comments ridiculing Mursi and his presidential team.
One commentator said: “I was sure that Mursi was a liar; did not and will not invite him because Egyptian expats [in America] do not like this man.”