Egypt's president promises to respect courts

In this photo released by the Egyptian Presidency, Egyptian Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, left, President Mohammed Morsi, center, and Chief of Staff Sami Anan, right, attend a ceremony at an Air Force base in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, July 10, 2012.
AP Photo

(CBS/AP) CAIRO - Egypt's Islamist president says he's committed to uphold court verdicts - an attempt to ease tensions over the fate of the country's parliament.

Mohammed Morsi's statement Wednesday came one day after the Supreme Constitutional Court ruled against his decree to call the house into session despite a June 14 ruling by the same tribunal that the legislature was invalid because a third of its members were elected illegally. The military dissolved parliament the following day.

Morsi said in his statement he called parliament to session "so there wouldn't be a power vacuum in terms of legislation," the Egypt Independent reports.

Morsi's decree heightened tensions with the powerful military.

The statement supporting the courts verdict, carried by Egypt's official news agency, appeared intended to reduce tensions, but it fell short of saying whether Morsi accepts the latest ruling.

"If the Supreme Constitutional Court's ruling issued yesterday prevents Parliament from performing its tasks, we will respect that because we are a law-based state," the statement said, according to Egypt Independent.

Meanwhile, Morsi flew to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday at the start of his first foreign trip, underscoring the traditionally close ties between the two regional powerhouses.

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Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood has said his administration has no plans to "export" Egypt's revolution, an implicit reassurance to Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies, who have been nervous over the possibility of Arab Spring revolts reaching their shores.

He has also asserted his country's commitment to the security of Saudi Arabia and its Gulf Arab allies, a thinly veiled reference to the tension between them and Iran.

Morsi was scheduled to meet with Saudi King Abdullah later Wednesday.

Thousands of Brotherhood members sought refuge in Saudi Arabia in the 1950s and 1960s to escape crackdowns by Gamal Abdel-Nasser, Egypt's ruler at the time. But Saudi Arabia's own problems with violent Islamist groups have cooled its ties with groups espousing political Islam, like the Brotherhood.

Some 1.6 million Egyptians live and work in Saudi Arabia, which is also one of the biggest investors in Egypt.