News / Middle East

Egypt's Morsi Urges Arab Action on Syria

Elizabeth Arrott
Egypt's president has made an impassioned plea to fellow Arab leaders to bring an end to the bloodshed in Syria.

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi urged Arab leaders to make ending the conflict in Syria the region's top priority.

"Any talk of developing the Arab world's work, and building our shared future, cannot gain the momentum we want in reality as long as the Syrian people's suffering continues,” Morsi said.

Making his first appearance as president before the Arab League Wednesday, Morsi outlined his plan for a regional quartet -- Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran -- to work toward a negotiated settlement.  He also repeated his call for the Syrian government to step down.

"There is still a chance to stop the bloodshed. There is no room for pride or bidding. Don't listen to the voices that tempt you to stay because you will not be here for long,” Morsi said.

Syria's information minister this week rejected Mr. Morsi's effort, dismissing him as a stooge of the United States and Israel.

But in Cairo, Syrian opposition members who have been holding vigil outside the Arab League welcomed Mr. Morsi's plan in general.

Activist Nawras el Sag said he was delighted -- but with reservations.

“This is the first time an Arab leader said something we value. But we wished for more. He could at least talk about the channel that distributes arms to Syria from Iran. He should have said it needs to be closed," el Sag said.

El Sag also questioned Mr. Morsi's plan to include Iran in the talks, given Tehran's support for the Syrian government.

"Women, young ladies, the elderly, are all killed by Iran.  It is our enemy and we regard it the same as Bashar ((al-Assad)), our number one enemy," El Sag said.

Activist Khalil el Kordi, though, held out hope that including Iran could help stop the bloodshed.

“Iran should take a stance on the grounds that it works by honor, in accordance with Islam, work by its religion.  Simply, today, a Muslim should not kill a Muslim,” el Kordi said.

Morsi's plan coincides with a joint effort by the Arab League and the United Nations to send a new special envoy to Syria.  But few on either side of the conflict, or among those trying to bring it to an end, predict either mission will bring about any change soon.

Photo Gallery: Latest Images from Syria

  • This image made from video provided by Shaam News Network (SNN) and accessed by the Associated Press on Tuesday, September 4, 2012 purports to show people walking through rubble after shelling in Idlib, Syria.
  • Residents inspect the damage after what was said to be an air raid by Syrian government forces near Azaz, September 3, 2012.
  • A Syrian child stands next to rebel fighters checking a house that was damaged in bombing by government forces in Marea, on the outskirts of Aleppo, Syria, September 4, 2012.
  • A Syrian rebel fighter prepares his AK-47 before going on patrol in Marea, on the outskirts of Aleppo, Syria, September 4, 2012.
  • A view shows the wreckage after a car bomb exploded in the Jaramana district of southeast Damascus September 3, 2012, in this photograph released by Syria's national news agency SANA.
  • Civilians wait to receive food rations in the Bab Al-Salam refugee camp in Azaz. At the Azaz-Kilis crossing, Syrians described dire conditions for refugees still trapped on the other side of the border.
  • Syrian Hamzah Abu Bakri, displays portraits of his brothers who were killed last week while standing by their vegetable shop in Aleppo, Syria, September 2, 2012.
  • Boys play on a Syrian military tank (destroyed during fighting with the rebels), in Azaz, September 2, 2012.
  • A Syrian refugee hangs clothes to dry at Zaatari Refugee Camp, in Mafraq, Jordan, September 2, 2012.
  • Syrian barbers who fled their homes shave the heads of other displaced men at the Bab Al-Salameh border crossing, in hopes of entering one of the refugee camps in Turkey.
  • A civilian pushes a baby stroller containing his belongings as he flees the El Edaa district in Aleppo, September 2, 2012.

Timeline: Events in Syrian Conflict


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Comment Sorting
by: Anonymous
September 07, 2012 4:10 PM
What can Assad do? He inherited the regime police state and has not ability to change anything. Besides he is under basic lock and key by the republican guard who are the protectors of the regime, of which he has no control over. Media once again is using a blind figurehead to rally against when the mechanisms are much more complex than the simpletons we prop up as our "enemies".
In Response

by: Anonymous
September 08, 2012 8:06 AM
Assad is doing the only thing he can do, he is trying to protect himself from being captured and having to face crimes against humanity in Syria by the Syrian people. All he can do at this point is continue the killing and hope for the best. The public should all group up and storm his palace (or wherever he is hiding) and capture him. Assad cares nothing about the Syrian people or about the country in general, if he did he would just leave.Once the FSA captures Assad, justice will be served regardless how violent it may be. If he is lucky he will live as long as ghadaffi did once captured.

by: Anonymous
September 06, 2012 11:49 PM
Action NEEDS to happy by the Arab community. The Russians will NOT interfere, doing so would cause Russia even more problems. Just do it!!! Get it over with!

by: Remember
September 06, 2012 11:48 AM
Whilst the loss of innocent lives is to be condemned in Syria, the loss of human lives in Zimbabwe drew little comment from the outside world including the 2008 Elections. Inexplicable how Governments avoided taking an honest approach in outright condemnation, in these instances and several others, all of which have been well reported on.

by: Yamani from: Yemen
September 06, 2012 6:24 AM
Syria is a place of conflict between to powers, Russia and Iran from one side and America and Some Arab Countries from the other side. they both play either anti or pro Israel, the foolish person in this conflict is President Asad and his dictatorial family, why he doesn't resign and let his people choose new president to cut the way before more disconstruction for his country
In Response

by: Anonymous
September 06, 2012 11:50 PM
Assad is like a big baby, if he can't have it, nobody can he feels. Like a 5 year old. Meenwhile he doesn't realise that the actual Syrian PEOPLE own the country, not him.

by: Tatenda from: Harare
September 05, 2012 3:49 PM
He must step down kids dying because he is simply greedy ,the international community must unite and overthrow him without failure

by: J from: USA
September 05, 2012 11:56 AM
Christians in Danger (why not report more in the US):

by: ojdiddoit from: america
September 05, 2012 11:29 AM
the children of syria die physically,spiritually and emotionally while the world fiddles,there blood and there future drenches the goverments of all these gameplayers from china to the usa

by: Nikos Retsos from: Chicago, USA
September 05, 2012 10:14 AM
Bashar Assad was a politically clueless ophthalmology student in U.K. when he was plucked out of that school in the year 2000 by the Syrian Baath party to succeed his deceased father Hafez al-Assad. He, therefore, became a nerdy head of state by ancestry, and subsequently he proved himself to be nothing more than an inept head of state.

Despite his ophthalmology pedigree, Assad has been blind of the changing landscape the Arab Springs have brought about in Middle east. Now his country has turned into a slaughterhouse, and its infrastructure has turned into rubble. But is still as inept as he was in 2000, and he believes that he can survive the onslaught of the Syrian Arab Spring with the support of Russia, Iran, and Lebanon's Hezbollah militia.

History has it that "wickedness" destroyed the ancient cities of Sodom and Gomorrah there. I believe Syria in on a similar path of destruction now. With hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, I wonder why a loony leader would continue the slaughter of his people to keep the job of the president that he has not earned! Nikos Retsos, retired professor
In Response

by: Anonymous
September 07, 2012 3:46 PM
I totally agree action needs to happen NOW for the Syrian people otherwise what will be in the end is a country turned to destruction, PLUS a dead leader. It would be a wise investment for the Syrian people to take out Assad now, before he demolishes the entire country of Syria. No different than Hitler killed the jews, country was destroyed in the end, then took his own life. I am not Syrian but sure will chear for Syrian people once this tyrant is dealt with accordingly.
In Response

by: a.c from: u.s.a
September 05, 2012 12:30 PM
This can not go on like this at the end some kind of military action is required perhaps joint one Turkey.Egypt and Saudi Arabia what will be the reaction of Russia and Iran and or Iraq will be and what will be the position of Israel in that conflict.

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
September 05, 2012 9:56 AM
It's a pity China does not yet understand the meaning of democracy. To both China and Russia, succession to the presidency remains an exclusive preserve of the ruling family. Therefore any attempt to remove the power from it is seen as an affront. Both are used to the oligarchic and antiquated monarchic system wherein there still exists lords, barons and serfs. In the Chinese system only the ruling class matters, the rest are slaves that should have no input to how they are ruled. Even though they make a show of electioneering, they are only mimicking the established orders without a serious meaning to following or adopting it. That is why the deaths in Syria mean nothing to them, until perhaps one belonging to the ruling class is affected. Which is why the opinion on the streets of China is different from that of the government of China,
In Response

by: heyyy from: China
September 06, 2012 8:12 AM
I appreciate that you have seen the deep burying problems in China, but I dont agree with you about slaves, of course we are not slaves of any kind, though about election you are right, but it doesnt mean that we are not changing then you ignore the efforts we are making. There is no denying that the opinion that the goverment dominates the community exists, but many people are trying really hard to assert their rights. We suffered before even more cruelly in World War 2, so how come we are not identify with them?I am also unhappy about some measures the goverment took, like Diaoyu Island.

by: david lulasa from: tambua,gimarakwa,hamisi,v
September 05, 2012 9:02 AM
assad is suffering from power addiction,yet he just thinks he is alright just because he is ready to be defended by the russian and chinese however minimal..he should have felt contended like along time ago.

obama barack

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