Middle East

Middle East media hail Mursi speech

Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi (R) makes his speech at the NAM summit, as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad listens
Image caption Mohammed Mursi's (R) speech sparked a walkout by the Syrian delegation

Commentators across the Middle East have been reacting to Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi's speech to the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Tehran, in which he described Syrians as suffering under an "oppressive regime".

Some portray the speech as a brave move that reasserts Egyptian political independence, but Syria's state newspaper denounced Mr Mursi's "preconceived hostility" towards Syria.


President Mursi's speech dominates the front pages and editorials of Egyptian newspapers.

Muhammad al-Dusuqi Rushdi writing in Al-Yawm Al-Sabi praised the Egyptian president for condemning the government of Bashar al-Assad "despite the fact that Iran strongly supports the Syrian regime".

However in Egypt's opposition Al-Wafd, Alaa' Uraybi argues that the most important part of Mr Mursi's speech "was not his condemnation of the Syrian regime right there in Iran... but his demand to change the working mechanisms of international organisations".

Egyptian social media users heap praise on Mr Mursi.

Facebook user "Semsma Heart" praises him for being "so brave", while "Ashraf Hasan" declares that Mursi is demonstrating "day after day" that he is an "honourable man".

"Finally we have a president who makes us proud," says a user on the 6th of April Youth Movement Facebook page.

On Twitter, poet and activist Abd-al-Rahman Yusuf says: "I am proud of Mursi's stance towards the great Syrian revolution.''

Prominent journalist Du'a Sultan tweeted: "Although Mursi's speech deepens the sectarian discourse, it has placed Egypt in a stronger position towards Tehran and the rest of world. This is politics."  


Iranian newspapers don't publish on Fridays, but there is a lively response to Mr Mursi's speech from Iranian opposition bloggers and internet users.

One opposition blogger says: "Praise be to Mursi's honesty for voicing what millions of Iranians and Syrians could not say.''

Mojtaba Vahedi, the former adviser to Iran's opposition leader, Mehdi Karrubi, describes Mursi's speech as a "slap in the face" for Iran's leader, "who had just yesterday defended Assad's government."

Some bloggers quote the speech which had been censored by Iranian state-run TV channels.

On the opposition website Kaleme, internet user "Ali" describes the censorship of Mr Mursi's speech as "ridiculous", while another calls it an act of ''audacity and immorality''.

Other users accuse the Egyptian leader of using the Non-Aligned Movement platform for his own narrow political agenda. "Farzanehlena" tweeted: "Mursi just came to Iran to speak against Bashar Al-Assad and then left."  

Middle East press

Commentators in the Middle East and pan-Arab press, with the exception of Syria, broadly welcome Mr Mursi's comments.

"Well done, President Mursi" says a headline in Jordan's privately-owned, pro-government Al-Dustur. In the piece, Batir Muhammad Ali Wurdim says that ''you can't accuse the Egyptian president, who comes from the heart of Egyptian revolution, of implementing a Zionist-US-Arab Gulf-Turkish agenda to overthrow an opposing regime."

Rafiq Khuri in Lebanon's independent, moderate Al-Anwar says Egypt has "pulled the carpet from under Iran's feet".

In the pan-Arab, Saudi-owned Al-Hayat, Ghassan Sharbal describes Mr Mursi's criticism of Syria as a "bombshell" which had surprised Iran. Sharbal adds that Mursi's linkage between the Syrian and the Palestinian people's fight for freedom and justice would have "a painful resonance in both Tehran and Damascus."

Abd-al-Bari Atwan, writing in the independent pan-Arab Al-Quds Al-Arabi, says Mursi may have ''put Egypt in the driving seat on the Syria issue, other current issues and future issues".

However in Syria's ruling party newspaper Al-Ba'th, an editorial by Bassam Hashim gives a negative response. "This is Mubarak's Egypt where nothing has changed but the faces: preconceived hostility to Syria, teaming up with oil monarchies and shaykhdoms that throw themselves into the arms of the West.''

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