The Syrian delegation walked out on Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy’s speech in the 16th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in Tehran, in the first visit by an Egyptian president to Iran in decades.
In a speech broadcast on Egyptian national television, Morsy also spoke of the uprisings that shook the region, referring to Egypt’s 2011 uprising as the cornerstone of the “Arab Spring.”
At the start of his speech, the president described the Syrian uprising as a “revolution against the oppressive regime in Syria.” He then added that the “Palestinian and Syrian people are currently struggling with impressive bravery in demand of freedom and justice and human dignity.”
Morsy said that the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) needs “comprehensive reform and expansion in order to make it representative of the current world order in the 21st century and not a reflection of the 20th century, so that its decisions are more credible.” He added that Africa needs to be represented in the Council as a permanent member since many issues on the council’s agenda are related to the continent.
He also criticized how the UNSC can be “paralyzed when it comes to handling many crises because of the right to veto”, the latest example, he said, was the “Syrian crisis, which continues to make our hearts bleed.”
Morsy asserted the right of the Palestinians to self-determination, adding that the Palestinians have the right to form an independent state for all Palestinians on their own land, whether inside or outside Palestine. “We have to stand by this right and offer political support and other kinds of support needed to achieve full membership for Palestine in the UN and to bring attention to the suffering of the people, especially their prisoners.”
Regarding Syria, Morsy said, “Our solidarity with the struggle of the beloved people of Syria against the oppressive Syrian regime which has lost its legitimacy is an ethical duty as much as it is a political and strategic necessity.” The Syrian delegation walked out on this part of the speech.
He added, “This comes from our belief of a coming future for a free and proud Syria and we all have to pledge full and support for the struggle of the people demanding freedom and justice in Syria. And we have to translate our sympathy in to a clear political vision which achieves a peaceful transition into a democratic rule which reflects the demands of the Syrian people for freedom, justice, and equality and at the same time prevents Syria from sliding into a civil war or falling into division.”
He urged the opposition to unite for the best interests of all Syrian people, adding that Egypt is willing to cooperate with all parties to prevent bloodshed.
Morsy has pledged support for the Syrian revolution in his first speech as president. He held a two-day conference for the Syrian opposition in Cairo in July, just a few days after he was sworn in as president. Recently, the Egyptian foreign ministry sent EGP 500,000 in humanitarian aid for displaced Syrians, both in Syria and those who fled to neighbouring countries.
While Morsy’s visit to Iran is historic, the restoration of full diplomatic ties which had been severed between the two countries may be far from easy, especially as the two countries don’t see eye to eye on one of the biggest regional issues, the Syria crisis.