News / Africa

Egypt's Leader Denounces Syrian Regime During Iran Visit

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad welcomes Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi during the opening session of the Non-aligned Movement summit, in Tehran, August 30, 2012.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad welcomes Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi during the opening session of the Non-aligned Movement summit, in Tehran, August 30, 2012.
Edward Yeranian
CAIRO — Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi told Thursday's session of the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Tehran that Egypt supports the struggle of the Syrian people against what he called "an oppressive regime that has lost its legitimacy."

Syria's delegation walked out to protest the remarks.

As the outgoing head of the moment, Morsi sat at the center of the podium, next to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. He is the first Egyptian leader to visit the Iranian capital since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

The seven-hour trip, which received praise in the Egyptian press, was a matter of protocol as much as symbolism since Egypt is due to hand over the movement chairmanship to Iran.

In a stinging rebuke to his Iranian hosts, who strongly support Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, Morsi announced his "complete solidarity with Syrians struggling for freedom and justice."

Morsi did not meet with Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, leading some analysts to conclude that Khamenei was not pleased with the Egyptian comments on Syria.

Syria protests

Syrian state TV pulled the plug on its live broadcast of Morsi's speech, indicating later that his criticism was a "breach of summit protocol." Iraq's Shi'ite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who like Iran supports the Syrian regime, appeared to grimace during the speech.

Middle East analyst James Denselow of King's College London says that Morsi's unexpected criticism of Syria, along with his unusual visit to Tehran, underscores Egypt's return to an independent foreign policy stance after the diplomatic certainty under ex-President Hosni Mubarak.

"The new leader of Egypt is far more unpredictable than the rather more moribund Mubarak dynasty," he said. "So I think Egypt is a country whose foreign policy is no longer a matter of certainty and will far more be driven by new factors, more varied factors and potentially more democratic factors in the long run."

Denselow called Morsi's trip to Tehran "a reflection of Egypt's return to the international stage." The new Egyptian leader is also due to visit Washington in September, following the annual opening session of the United Nations.

Iran and Syria say the Syrian uprising is separate from the Arab Spring and consists largely of foreign-backed "terrorists" acting on behalf of the U.S. and regional countries.

UN council to meet

Later Thursday, the U.N. Security Council will meet to discuss Syria's humanitarian crisis.  The council is deadlocked about taking strong action after Russia and China blocked three Western-backed resolutions that criticized Assad and threatened sanctions.

At a joint news conference ahead of the U.N. meeting, the foreign ministers of France and Britain urged Assad loyalists to defect.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said they should “separate themselves from that criminal clan as soon as possible.” He said France and Britain agree that the Assad family should be held accountable for its crimes before the International Criminal Court at The Hague.

The ministers said they would seek a meeting on funding U.N. humanitarian assistance to Syria in the coming weeks.  

France announced it would give an additional $6 million, part of which would be dedicated to “liberated areas” of Syria.  Britain said it is donating an additional $6 million to humanitarian assistance.

More fighting

As fighting continues in Syria, rebels say they shot down a fighter jet in the northern province of Idlib near the Turkish border. The report could not be independently verified.

An activist group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, says 20 people were killed, including eight children, when regime forces bombarded a town Thursday in Idlib province.  Government and rebel forces fighting for control over a military airport have engaged in intense clashes in the area that was attacked.

VOA's Margaret Besheer contributed to this report from the United Nations.

You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: david lulasa from: tambua,gimarakwa,hamisi,v
September 01, 2012 6:07 AM
people should stop hypocrisy,iran and syria are being hypocritical...these two have never been lone islands.

by: Anonymous
September 01, 2012 12:51 AM
So lets just "Pretend" that the civillians fighting the Syrian army was terrorists. Why is Bashar Assad not paying the refugees that had to run to turkey border to survive? How much is Assad paying to help the "Innocent people of Syria"? Zero I bet. Secondly what is Russia doing for the displaced people? How much is Russia contributing for the inconvenienced people? (Zero I bet).

Cover up... Kill anyone who doesn't like Assad simple as that.
Their is blood soaked all over Assad and Putins hands and arms. They are the real terrorists in Syria, hands down.

by: Nikos Retsos from: Chicago, USA
August 30, 2012 10:56 PM
Egypt's Morsi wanted to demonstrate in Iran that he won't play "second fiddle" to either Iran or the U.S. - which tried in vain to convince him not to attend the Tehran NAM Conference. In my own opinion, Morsi grabbed the opportunity to go to NAM Conference -by defying the U.S., and once there he proved his independence -from Iran's stance on Syria- by calling for Assad's ouster!

Very impressive, Charles DeGaulle like performance, and, at the same time, a dual warning to both the U.S. and Iran that he won't seat on the lap of either one of them! He intents to be a leader in Middle East, not a follower of any foreign power, no matter their interests or ambitions! Nikos Retsos, retired professor

by: Anonymous
August 30, 2012 4:31 PM
Iranian State Media did not translate Morsi's comments on Syria for the Iranians. The reason is Iran claims Egypt new government is a friend of the Islamic regeim in Iran. So now they don't know they should denounce Morsi or not.

by: Ray from: Los Angeles, CA, USA
August 30, 2012 3:06 PM
Morsi is in back pocket of the WEST. Fake Arab.

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
August 30, 2012 11:25 AM
I believe Morsi's main concern here is to regain Egypt's regional control. How it's going to be a regional power in the face of the Middle East Cacophony is a wait-and-see game. Between living up to his Arab Spring billing and regional control, Morsi has a tough choice to make. Whichever one between his political ambition and his religious leaning weighs stronger in his scale will win the bout. But it does seem Morsi wants to play regional politics; how far that can be sustained is a game of chance.

His being in Iran for the NAM meeting may not mean as much as the sizing of opinion with Ahmadinejad. This is a rare opportunity as his sunni leaning might pose an obstacle to meeting him at some other time, with the widespread isolation of Iran still gaining momentum. And with the feelers on the streets of Tehran, Morsi might be in a better position to make judgments about Iran and its usefulness in the OIC and the Arab world.
In Response

by: Ali baba from: new york
September 01, 2012 6:28 AM
The egyptian politicies is marked by double standard. Iran is supporting muslim brotherhood cause. he went to iran for two reasons .the meeting and tell iranian thank you for support and open your country to criminal whom are wanted for criminal charges during mubark. he open the iranan embassy. he is supporting iran to produce nuclear bomb which can be used in war in middle east

by: ali baba from: new york
August 30, 2012 10:31 AM
Iran is very helpful for muslim brotherhood cause. Iran is not helpful for egyptian interest.Morsy went Iran because Iran give protection for muslim brotherhood thugs who run from Egypt to avoid jail term . He did not like syria because syria is attacking muslim brotherhood in syria.muslim brotherhood will put an end of Egypt

by: Bean from: US
August 30, 2012 9:37 AM
I think it's safe to say when Morsi was speaking. The Iranian officials and especialy thier leader imanutjob were having some seriouse digestive issues, if you know what i mean. I belive that
there leader imanutjob did the same thing to the U.S. at the U.N.
How's it go, (Do to others as they do unto you.) Good for Egypt.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs