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Morsi to Assad: Time to Step Down

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi: "I tell the Syrian regime: there is still a chance to end the bloodshed."
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 9/6/2012, 4:15 AM

Morsi talks at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo
Morsi talks at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo
Reuters

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi called on Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad to step down on Wednesday.

Morsi spoke at the annual meeting of the Cairo-based Arab League. The session was jointly headed by Morsi and Lebanese Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour.

According to a report in Al-Ahram, Morsi in his speech asserted that it was “time for the Syrian regime to step down,” stressing that it was an Arab responsibility to find a viable resolution to the ongoing crisis.

“We should help the Syrians avoid civil war and avert foreign military intervention,” Morsi said.

“I tell the Syrian regime: there is still a chance to end the bloodshed. Now is the time for change,” he added.

Morsi went on to say there was "no time to waste" in discussing proposed reforms, stressing that the Assad regime "has to leave to stop the carnage."

He also called on Assad to "take lessons from recent history," in reference to the fall of the regimes in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen.

“Do something and we'll support you,” Morsi told Arab diplomats before leaving the meeting.

Morsi’s comments were made on the same day that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan labeled the Syrian regime a “terrorist state” that conducts massacres against its own people.

Erdogan made the statement to reporters at a news conference Wednesday following a meeting with his ruling AK Party (Justice and Development) in Ankara. "Syria is not an ordinary country to us,” he said. “We do not have the luxury to remain indifferent to what's happening there.”

Morsi also addressed the issue of the Palestinian Authority, telling Arab diplomats that PA Arabs continued to suffer under an "unjust occupation," and stressing that Arabs should support their struggle for an independent state.

“Egypt supports any initiative by the Palestinians that would help them earn membership in the United Nations,” Morsi said.

“Egypt bears responsibility for continuing its efforts to resolve the Palestinian issue,” he added.