Middle East

Egypt president needs greater 'dose of reality': Syria

Syria's foreign ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi speaks at a news conference in Damascus, Syria, Sunday, May 27, 2012. (AP Photo/Bassem Tellawi)

BEIRUT: Egypt's president is too new in his post and doesn't fully understand Syrian politics, a Damascus official said Sunday, after Mohamed Morsi publicly sided with those opposed to President Bashar al-Assad.

"We heard the words of President Morsi. If I may say so, it was a disappointment," Syrian foreign ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi told Lebanon's pro-Damascus television channel NBN.

"I think the new Egyptian presidency is not fully developed yet. In my personal view, his dose of reality will increase with the passing of time. We hope that he will be able to reach an understanding of the whole truth of what is happening in Syria, and to take a position at that level."

In a speech to the summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Tehran last Thursday, Morsi denounced the "oppressive regime" in Damascus, which he said had lost all legitimacy.

"Our solidarity with the struggle of Syrians against an oppressive regime that has lost its legitimacy is an ethical duty, and a political and strategic necessity," he said.

That comment prompted the Syrian delegation at the summit to walk out, and embarrassed Iran which fully supports Damascus.

Makdissi said Morsi's comments stemmed from his background in Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood movement, which is affiliated with one of Syria's main opposition groups.

"As for President Morsi, we all know that he has a Muslim Brotherhood background," Makdissi told NBN.

"But he is now president of a crucial Arab country, Egypt. Now, despite his Brotherhood background, he now has a relationship with important institutions in Egypt, such as the ministry of foreign affairs," he added.

"Syria hopes that Egypt recovers its natural role in the Arab world."





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