Syrian Delegation Storms Out of NAM Summit in Defense of Assad

World | August 30, 2012, Thursday // 15:18|  views

Egyptian president Mohammad Morsi is displayed on a screen in the press hall during the opening ceremony of the summit of the Non-Alligned Movement (NAM), in Tehran, Iran, 30 August 2012. EPA/BGNES

The Syrian delegation at the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Tehran on Thursday walked out in protest in reaction to a speech by Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said.

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has stirred a controversy at the summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Tehran by declaring that Syria's President Bashar Al-Assad, who is fighting an "Arab Spring" insurgency, must go.

After the opening of the NAM summit in Iran Thursday, Morsi urged member states of the Non-Aligned Movement to support Syrians striving to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose staunchest regional ally is Iran.

Morsi called the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad "despotic" and urged it to step down in the face of the civil war ongoing in the country, which he called "a revolution against an oppressive regime."

The speech was "interference in Syria's internal affairs and...instigation for continuing the shedding of Syrian blood," Moallem said, Syrian state television reported.

The delegation returned to the summit after Morsi wrapped up his speech, Moallem said.

Libyan TV channel Al Mayadin reported earlier that the Syrians walked out because the head of the delegation had an interview appointment.

Morsi heads the 120-state Non-Aligned Movement Group that was created in the middle of last century against the backdrop of political polarization during the Cold War.

Morsi's visit to Tehran was the first by an Egyptian leader since Iran's Islamic Revolution in 1979, but his uncompromising speech suggested there would be no swift reconciliation between the two countries after three decades of animosity.

Diplomatic relations between Cairo and Tehran broke down immediately after Iran's revolution over Egypt's support for the overthrown Shah and over its peace agreement with Israel.

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Tags: Mohamed Morsi, NAM, non-aligned movement, Iran, Tehran, Syria, arab spring, civil war, Bashar Al-Assad, Egyptian President, Islamic Revolution, Walid Muallem


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