President Mohamed Morsy delivered his first speech to the Arab League at a conference in Cairo on Wednesday.
His speech touched upon a wide range of regional issues, mentioning the countries of many of the delegates present.
Similar to his speech last week at the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Tehran, President Morsy directed strong language towards the Syrian government in response to the 18-month conflict that has killed thousands and displaced more.
“I call on you, foreign ministers of Arab states, to intensify working on an urgent solution for the ongoing tragedy in the land of Syria,” said Morsy, “that preserves the unity of Syrian territory and includes all spectrums of the brotherly Syrian people, without ethnic, religions, or sectarian discrimination.”
“Syrian students will be treated like Egyptian students,” promised the president. Legal aid teams’ July estimates showed that Egypt was hosting roughly 15,000 Syrian refugees.
He also directed attention to the Assad regime, advising the Syrian president to step down from his position, “It’s too late to talk about reform. This is the time for change and the Syrian regime must learn from recent history.”
President Morsy also focused a large portion of his speech on Palestine. “I would like to emphasize that Egypt will continue to be supportive of any move determined by the Palestinian leadership for full membership in the United Nations,” said Morsy.
The Egyptian President began his speech welcoming the Arab League members to the “house of Arabs,” and home to the 25 January Revolution that took root in the desire for “freedom, dignity, and justice, opening a bright page in [Egypt’s glorious] history.”
“The glorious 25 January Revolution was not only a move done by the Egyptian people to seize their rights within its homeland, but also an unequivocal declaration of desire to return to occupy its natural place in the heart of the Arab nation,” added Morsy, promising Egypt would rise to its previous levels of influence and relevance in the region.
While the president covered a wide range of issues facing member nations of the Arab League, he failed to mention continuous government clampdowns on waves of protests in Bahrain, in which scores of activists have been detained and tried. Bahrain’s Shi’a majority has lobbied the Sunni-led government for democratic reforms since February 2011. On Tuesday a Manama court upheld sentences for 20 prominent activists, including eight who were sentenced to life in prison.