At Islamic Conference, Egypt's Morsi Calls for Regime Change in Syria

Speaking at a summit in Mecca, Morsi calls on Muslim nations to work together in solving Syria's crisis, but stresses Palestinian issue remains most urgent.

Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi said on Wednesday that it is of utmost importance that Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran work together to solve the ongoing crisis in Syria.

Speaking at the Islamic Solidarity Conference in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Morsi said that it is time for regime change in Syria. He quoted the Prophet Mohammed who forbade war among Muslims and criticized those who allowed for the situation to deteriorate and for "blood to have been spilled during the holy month of Ramadan."

Morsi stressed however that for Egypt and Arab Muslim countries, the Palestinian issue remains the most urgent, and called on the Palestinians to unite their ranks.

On Tuesday, Egypts Information Minister Salakh Abd al-Maksud, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, said that Egypt will not normalize relations with Israel until occupied Palestinian land is freed." He added that "we are carrying out our relations with Israel based on agreements Israel has made with Egypt.

"Therefore, even if we request to change some stipulations of the Camp David accords, the president and national institutions have stated that they respect the agreement." However, al-Maksud also said that Israel "stole Palestinian lands, and for this reason we will not normalize relations with it until those lands are freed.

The information minister was not asked, and did not specify, if the occupied lands include territory conquered in 1967, or all of Israel.

Following Morsi's decision to appoint 53 new government-run newspaper editors, the new editor of Al-Akhbar newspaper refused to publish an article critical of the Muslim Brotherhood on Tuesday, according to reports. Author Youssef al-Qaeed told al-Ahram newspaper that Al-Akhbar's new editor, Mohamed Hassan al-Banna – who was appointed by the Brotherhood – was the one who banned the article.

Al-Banna denied these allegations, saying that al-Qaeed had not sent a copy of his piece to the news desk. "He has no contract with us, we did not censor his article and we haven't received any articles from him at all," El-Banna told al Ahram. He added that his newspaper has no intention of publishing articles from journalists outside the paper.

Earlier this week, an Egyptian court ordered a ban on all Saturday editions of Al-Dustour newspaper, claiming it had insulted Morsi. According to reports, the editions of the privately-owned newspaper were confiscated as part of an investigation into suspected subversion against Morsi.

In the Saturday edition of the newspaper, the first page featured articles warning of a takeover of the Brotherhood Islamic rhetoric. This case is not an isolated one: A few days ago a television network was closed down for allegedly inciting to murder Morsi.

President Morsi in Mecca