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

Unpaid Kurdish Fighters Sign of Economic Woes

Sharp cuts in Kurdistan's budget by Baghdad, falling oil revenue, coping with refugees, inflated public sector have hit regional economy hard More

Koreas Exchange List of Envoys for Family Reunion Talks

Officials will discuss date, venue and number of participants for reunion; Seoul hopes to hold event late this month More

China Targets 197 in Online Speech Crackdown

Nearly 200 punished for 'spreading rumors' online in ongoing crackdown on free speech 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.
Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 02, 2015 6:19 PM
Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.

VOA Blogs