Egypt will not attend an upcoming meeting on Syria because it is opposed to foreign military intervention, the official spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Monday.
Military heads from the United States, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Canada are expected to meet in Amman in the next few days, reported Jordanian state news agency Petra, citing a military source.
Spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Badr Abdelatty said Egypt will not attend the meeting because “we are not in favour of the military option in Syria.” He stressed the need for a political solution to the crisis in Syria.
The United Nations Chemical Weapons Team is currently investigating allegations of the use of toxic gas in the Syrian conflict.
Abdelatty refused to speculate on how the findings of the team could impact Egypt’s stance. He did say Egypt would react to a UN resolution on the issue but stressed, “we are pursuing a political option. Egypt will not be part of any military action.”
As part of pursuing a political solution to the crisis, Abdelatty said the deputy minister for Arab affairs travelled to Istanbul on Monday to attend a “core group meeting” of the Friends of Syria group to discuss political solutions to the crisis.
Egypt has long backed a political solution in Syria, however since allegations of the use of chemical weapons surfaced, the possibility of foreign military intervention has become a major issue on the international stage.
The US and Britain have both said they are ready to take action over the allegations, and condemned any use of chemical weapons. In an interview on Sunday British Foreign Secretary William Hague refused to go into the various options for response from the international community but said: “We are discussing them with the US and with other countries.”
The Syrian conflict has lasted more than two years. Although allegations of chemical weapon use have been made before, the harrowing images of victims showing symptoms of a chemical attack have sparked international outrage.
The conflict has claimed the lives of tens of thousands and there just under 1.75 million registered Syrian refugees and nearly 2 million “persons of concern” according to the United Nations Refugee Agency.