In his maiden speech to the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) at its summit in Tehran, Egypt's President Muhammed Morsi said humanity is witnessing one of the most important periods in its modern history. He suggested that the beginning of the revolution started several years ago, coming to fruition on 25 January 2011 when a united Egypt removed the regime which had not only oppressed them but also never actually served their interests.
Morsi added that the Egyptians have gone through a difficult transitional period in which there were many challenges but there was unity of ranks, activities and objectives, and unity between the army and the revolution against colonialism.
Morsi said that the NAM should emulate the Egyptian revolution, adding that Egypt was among the pioneer founding countries of the movement to confront all forms of oppression. "When Gamal Abdul Nasser joined the NAM he was representing the will of Egypt to end hegemony and erect a just system in the world," he told the audience.
Calling the Egyptian revolution the cornerstone of the Arab Spring, Morsi said that it is obligatory to support the Syrian revolution against the Assad regime, which he described as "despotic and illegitimate". Egypt, he pointed out, is now a genuinely civil state, and the people of Syria should emulate Egypt's achievement.
"We must announce our full support for those who demand freedom and justice in Syria and Palestine," said President Morsi. Egypt, he added, is ready to cooperate with all parties who strive for a free Syria in which all citizens have a role to play. "The bloodletting in Syria is the responsibility of all of us and we should know that this blood cannot stop without active intervention by all of us."
Morsi affirmed the right of the Palestinian people to establish an independent state with the involvement of all at home and in exile. He underscored the need to offer political support and other forms of aid for the recognition of the State of Palestine as a full state with full membership of the United Nations. Egypt, he insisted, will continue to oversee efforts towards Palestinian reconciliation so that the Palestinians can focus on the main issue, which is resistance to Israel's occupation.
He condemned the Israeli decision to prevent members of the NAM from entering the occupied West Bank in early August to attend a ministerial meeting. The Egyptian president also denounced Israel for not signing the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, pointing out that Egypt is honouring all of its international obligations and wants others to do the same.
Returning to the issue of the United Nations, President Morsi expressed his belief that it is necessary to reform the Security Council and extend its membership so that it becomes more representative of the international community in the 21st century. This, he said, would give the UN more credibility. "It is no longer acceptable that Africa is not represented with a permanent seat on the Security Council, and does not have fair representation among the non-permanent members." He also called for the General Assembly to play a more active role in international decision-making.
Morsi referred to the "brotherly Islamic Republic of Iran" when he expressed his happiness that the leadership of the movement will reside in Tehran. His hope is that the NAM will remain united under Iran's leadership.
Morsi's speech was preceded by that of the Supreme Guide of the Iranian Revolution, Ali Khamenei, who condemned the "forces of dominance and arrogance" which exercise hegemony over the rest of the world. He called for a change in the conduct of international relations from that based on fears and threats to one based on peaceful mutual interest for the good of mankind.
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