Syria condemns 'irresponsible' Egypt move to cut ties
"The Syrian Arab Republic condemns this irresponsible position," an unnamed Syrian official told state news agency SANA, accusing Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi of involvement in a "conspiracy... against Syria."
"The Syrian Arab Republic condemns this irresponsible position," an unnamed Syrian official told state news agency SANA.
The official said Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi had joined the "conspiracy and incitement led by the United States and Israel against Syria by announcing the cutting of ties yesterday".
"Syria is confident that this decision does not represent the will of the Egyptian people," the official added, accusing Morsi of announcing the severing of ties to deflect attention from internal crises.
Morsi, an Islamist who hails from the Muslim Brotherhood, announced Saturday the "definitive" severing of ties with war-torn Syria, and the recall of Egypt's charge d'affaires in Damascus.
He called for the international community to impose a no-fly zone and denounced the role of Lebanon's Shiite Hezbollah in Syria, where its members are helping the army battle rebels.
Egypt is Sunni Muslim, as are the vast majority of rebels fighting to overthrow Assad, whose Alawite sect is an offshoot of Shiite Islam.
The recent decision of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi to cut diplomatic ties with Syria is "harmonious" with the Western policies against Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, especially that it comes after the United States approved providing arms for the Syrian opposition, analysts said.
On Saturday evening, Morsi told a conference in Cairo that he decided to shut down the Syrian embassy in Cairo and withdraw the Egyptian charge d' affaires from Damascus.
"This is a step that conforms with the recent U.S. escalation to arm the Syrian rebels against Assad's administration and conforms with its deliberation over imposing a no-fly zone on Syria," Gamal Salama, head of political science department at Suez University, told Xinhua.
Salama said Egypt is one of the countries "revolving in the U.S. sphere," and these U.S. allies always make decisions that go in harmony with the U.S. plans.
Morsi also urged Arab and Islamic countries to have an emergency summit on the latest developments in the Syria conflict.
Bagrat Seiranyan, head of the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences' Oriental Institute, commented Morsi’s announcement in an interview with the Voice of Russia.
“Egypt consolidated its stance on Syria long ago,” the pundit said. “This announcement added nothing new to the mix. The regional balance of power will remain undisturbed. The Egyptians are divided over the president’s stand. The pro-Brotherhood forces at the helm of the country are largely supportive, while others are clearly against. It’s 50/50, one might say.”
“The nation’s reaction to Egypt’s break-up with Syria is self-explanatory. It is no news that for years – from 1958 to 1971 – Syria and Egypt were parts of one state, known as the United Arab Republic with a capital in Cairo,” Mr. Seiranyan added.
With regards to Morsi's warning to Lebanon's militant group Hezbollah against involvement in the Syria conflict, Salama said that it was meant to please Islamists, particularly the Salafists.
Momen Kouifatie, a Cairo-based Syrian exile and opposition figure, said the recent U.S. move to arm Syrian anti-government fighters and Morsi's recent decision to cut ties with Assad show international-Arab agreement to end Assad's rule.
Jabr al-Shufi, head of the Syrian National Council bureau in Cairo, a major opposition group against Assad, said the U.S. decision to arm the Syrian rebels and Morsi's decision to cut ties with Assad "are not necessarily related," yet he agreed the U.S. position has encouraged Morsi to make such decisions.
Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi announced on Saturday the end of diplomatic ties with the Syrian regime led by Bashar Al-Asaad. "We have decided to close down the Syrian embassy in Cairo," said Morsi during a popular conference in support of the Syrian uprising at Cairo Indoor Stadium.
"We also intend to recall Egypt's charge d'affaires [from Damascus]", Morsi said at a ‘Support for Syria' rally that gathered thousands of people in Cairo on Saturday. "All Egyptians representing various political forces, Muslims or Christians, unite with the Syrian people against those who rule the country at present", he said.
Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi urged world powers not to hesitate to enforce a no-fly zone over Syria on Saturday, as he threw the backing of the most populous Arab state firmly behind the revolt against the Iranian-backed Damascus government.
The Islamist head of state had previously appeared somewhat less confrontational toward President Bashar al-Assad than Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states. But in a speech to Sunni Muslim clerics in Cairo he said he had cut all ties to Damascus and demanded Lebanon's Shi'ite Hezbollah movement quit Syria.
Voice of Russia, Ahram Online, Reuters, Xinhua, AFP