In his first address to the 21-member Cairo-based Arab League, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi said Wednesday that solving the civil war in Syria is an Arab obligation, and that representatives from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran would meet behind closed doors during the summit to discuss the path toward ending the crisis.
The government of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad has said the insurgents fighting to oust Assad and his Ba'athist regime are terrorists backed by Gulf Arab states with the support of Turkey.
"The Syrian blood that is being shed day and night, we are responsible for this," Morsi told Arab foreign ministers, according to the AFP. He urged Arab states "to work hard to find an urgent solution to the tragedy in Syria."
Morsi, whose country is a close ally to Saudi Arabia, has in recent weeks inserted himself into regional affairs, having recently returned from the Non-Aligned Summit in Tehran, the first visit by an Egyptian leader to Iran since the 1979 Revolution.
Details of the meeting of representatives of the four countries at the summit have not been disclosed, nor is it known when and where the meeting will take place.
Iran, which is not a member of the Arab League, has been a close ally to the Assad government, while Saudi Arabia considers Iran and Assad's government to be regional threats to stability. Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Egypt would like to see Assad step down, while Iran stands with Russia in support of Assad.
As Arab foreign ministers mull the situation in Syria, protesters on Wednesday had to be pushed back with tear gas as they attempted to infiltrate the Syrian Embassy in Cairo, just blocks from the Arab League's headquarters, to plant a rebel flag. No injuries or deaths were reported.
U.S. Business Execs To Visit Egypt
Meanwhile, a delegation of U.S. executives representing major companies is scheduled to arrive in Cairo on Saturday. The group is being called the largest single trade delegation to the Arab world and is part of U.S. President Barack Obama's efforts to spur economic development in impoverished Egypt.
Companies represented in the group include Chicago-based Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA); Microsoft Corp. (NYSE: MSFT) of Redmond, Wash.; Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG) of Mountainview, Calif.; and Atlanta's Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO). The trade group will be in Cairo through Tuesday. The delegation comes as the U.S. is finalizing a deal to provide Egypt with $1 billion in debt relief.
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