Egypt president: We all must end’ the war in Syria
UNITED NATIONS — Egypt’s new president, w Mohammed Morsi, making his debut on the global stage at the United Nations, said Wednesday that he will not rest until the civil war in Syria is brought to an end.
He called the fighting there, which opposition groups say has killed at least 30,000 people, the “tragedy of the age” and one that “we all must end.” And he invited all nations to join an effort to stop the bloodshed that began about 18 months ago when opposition figures rose up against President Bashar Assad’s regime.
Morsi, an Islamist and key figure in the once-banned Muslim Brotherhood, opened his remarks to the U.N. General Assembly by celebrating himself as Egypt’s first democratically elected leader who was swept into office after what he called a “great, peaceful revolution.”
He said the first issue for the world body should be certifying the rights of the Palestinian people. “The fruits of dignity and freedom must not remain far from the Palestinian people,” he said, adding that it was “shameful” that U.N. resolutions are not enforced.
He decried Israel’s continued building of settlements on territory that the Palestinians claim for a future state in the West Bank.
On another subject, Morsi condemned as an obscenity the video produced in the United States that denigrated Islam’s Prophet Muhammad. He insisted that freedom of expression does not allow for attacks on any religion.
Morsi also condemned the violence that swept Muslim countries last week in reaction to the video. At least 51 people were killed, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans targeted in an attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.
Earlier Wednesday, Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, known for past fiery denunciations of the United States and Israel, spoke at length about his vision for a new world order without the “hegemony of arrogance.”
Of Israel, he cited what he termed the “continued threat by the uncivilized Zionists to resort to military action against our great nation.”
The U.S. delegation boycotted Ahmadinejad’s speech in response to the “paranoid theories and repulsive slurs against Israel” included in a separate address delivered by the Iranian president on Monday.
“It’s particularly unfortunate that Mr. Ahmadinejad will have the platform of the U.N. General Assembly on Yom Kippur, which is why the United States has decided not to attend,” Erin Pelton, spokeswoman for the U.S. Mission to the U.N., said in a statement.
Thousands of protesters in yellow vests emblazoned with photos of Iranian dissidents they said were killed by the Iranian regime gathered outside U.N. headquarters during the Iranian leader’s speech. Speakers included former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-NY, and former Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I.
Deputy Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast was threatened by members of the protest crowd as he walked near the United Nations.
He was confronted by the angry mob, said New York police spokesman Paul Browne. The diplomat flagged down police officers, who helped him get to a safe spot. Browne said the threats were believed to have been verbal.