Syria slams Egyptian leader's speech as interference

BEIRUT, Sept 6 Thu Sep 6, 2012 5:57pm IST

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BEIRUT, Sept 6 (Reuters) - Syria condemned on Thursday calls by Egypt's president for change in the country, which is battling a 17-month-old uprising against Bashar al-Assad, saying they amounted to blatant interference in its internal affairs.

The foreign ministry said President Mohamed Mursi's comments to a meeting of Arab ministers in Cairo were a "clear attack on the right of the Syrian people to choose their future by themselves, without foreign interference".

"What Mursi said is media incitement which aims to fuel the violence in Syria. This is no different from other governments who support the armed terrorist groups with money and weapons and training and shelter, making them partners in Syria's bloodshed," the foreign ministry statement said.

Egypt's new Islamist president said on Wednesday the time had come in Syria "for change and not wasting time speaking of reform". In a speech which also touched on the revolt in Egypt, he said Syrian authorities "must take into account the lessons of recent and ancient history".

Mursi, who was the once-banned Muslim Brotherhood's candidate in the election which followed the overthrow last year of Hosni Mubarak, formally resigned from the group when he won the presidency in June. Syria's Brotherhood has been a major element in the revolt against President Assad.

The Syrian statement said Mursi's comments reflected "the views of a group that has no grasp of the history shared by the Egyptian and Syrian people".

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