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Morsi wants central Arab role for Egypt

05 September 2012, 17:26

Cairo - Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi told a gathering of Arab foreign ministers on Wednesday that he wanted to revive Egypt's pivotal role in the Arab region after the country had been "marginalised."

Morsi told ministers at the Arab League headquarters that he wanted Egypt to "regain its natural place in the Arab world, contributing to help its people build a bright Arab future".

He said that Egypt had "unfortunately been absent from Arab work for a while."

"We return from this marginalisation, where we have lived in recent decades, back to Egypt's natural historic role," Morsi said.

Since his election in June, Morsi has sought to redefine Egypt's diplomatic path, taking a strong stance on the Syria conflict and visiting Iran and China, both rivals of Egypt's traditional ally the United States.

Morsi lashed out at the Syrian regime during a speech at the summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in Tehran last week, calling it "oppressive" while publicly urging support for rebels seeking President Bashar Assad's ouster.

"Egypt's commitment to the Arab region is a historic commitment, renewed by the 25 January revolution" that toppled Hosni Mubarak and paved the way for Morsi to become the first Islamist leader of the Arab world's most populous nation.

"Our ability as Arabs to face the challenges of the current phase is largely based on our ability to develop Arab co-operation," Morsi said.

"We must complete each other and be able to reform the mechanisms of Arab cooperation in order to revive, in all of us, the concept of Arab unity," he said.

"If the Arabs rise, the whole world will rise," Morsi said.

The Egyptian leader is set to embark on his first official trip to Europe next week, visiting Brussels and Rome before attending the UN General Assembly later this month.


Tags egypt

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