Ahmadinejad: Syria Needs 'National Understanding' - War Is Not Solution

Ahmadinejad's remarks come days before he was to visit Cairo, the first Iranian president to visit Egypt in decades.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Monday that Syria's crisis could not be solved by military means and he called for a national accord leading to elections.

"War is not the solution...A government that rules through war - its work will be very difficult. A sectarian war should not be launched in Syria," he told Al Mayadeen television.

"We believe that [deciding] whoever stays or goes is the right of the Syrian people. How can we interfere in that? We must strive to achieve national understanding, and free elections."

Ahmadinejad's remarks came just days before he was to visit Cairo, marking the first visit to Egypt by an Iranian leader in decades.

Even so, Mohammed Kamel Amr described Ahmadinejad's visit as routine, since hewill be attending a summit of the Organization of Islamic Conference in Cairo.

Officials in Cairo did not say Monday whether the Iranian leader would meet Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi during his visit. Morsi is from thefundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood.

Iran and Egypt, both regional heavyweights, once had strong ties. Diplomatic relations deteriorated after the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran and Egypt's peace treaty with Israel. Relations remained cold until Egypt's 2011 uprising

Soon after taking office last summer, Morsi made a historic visit to Tehran to attend a summit of nonaligned nations.