|Morsi defends strong ties with Iran to end conflict in Syria||
TEHRAN – Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi said on Saturday that having a strong relationship with Iran is important for Egypt to be able to work out a way to end the conflict in Syria, Reuters reported.
Speaking in a televised interview, Morsi described Iran as “a main player in the region that could have an active and supportive role in solving the Syrian problem.”
At an Islamic summit in Mecca last month, Morsi asked Iran to join a quartet committee comprising Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, and Egypt to try to find a solution to the violence in Syria.
Iran is the only state in the quartet that has rejected calls for the ouster of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Instead it has called on the Damascus government to implement reforms in line with the legitimate demands of the Syrian people. However, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt have all demanded that Assad step down.
“I don’t see the presence of Iran in this quartet as a problem, but (it) is a part of solving the (Syrian) problem,” Morsi said, explaining that Iran’s close proximity to Syria and its strong ties with it makes it “vital” in resolving the Syrian crisis.
Morsi said that he could meet with top officials of the three states of the quartet during the United Nations General Assembly meeting he will attend in New York this week.
“And we do not have a significant problem with Iran, it (the relation between Egypt and Iran) is normal like with the rest of the world’s states,” said Morsi, who last month became the first Egyptian president to visit the Islamic Republic in decades.
Relations between Cairo and Tehran were badly strained after Iran’s Islamic Revolution in 1979. Egypt signed a peace deal with Israel and became a staunch ally to the U.S. and Europe.
But it is now taking a position at odds with that of Israel and its Western allies.
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