Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi on Sunday discussed several pressing regional issues in an address delivered at an annual conference of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party.
“Our history, hopes and goals bind us together to achieve the freedom and justice that all nations are struggling for,” Morsi said during a short visit to Ankara, according to the Egyptian daily Al-Ahram.
Morsi, on his first visit to Turkey as Egypt’s president, urged members of the audience to support “the nations that are aspiring to freedom and independence.”
“The Arab world and the Arab Spring need you and your support to achieve sought-for stability,” he said, according to Al-Ahram.
Egypt, he went on, “supports the demand of the people for freedom from oppression and occupation in both Syria and Palestine,” stressing Turkey’s role as an “important element” in issues of concern to the region.
Morsi also condemned the “misery” imposed on the Syrian people and the “bloodshed caused by the Syrian regime.”
“The Syrian people have the right to choose their leaders,” said the Egyptian president. “And this can only be achieved when they obtain their full freedom on their own soil and have our full support.”
Morsi also expressed his hope for the eventual creation of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, urging his listeners to support “the Palestinian national cause.”
He also stressed that the border between Egypt and Hamas-run Gaza remained open “to meet our obligations to our brothers in Gaza.”
Hamas political chief Khaled Mashaal also attended the conference in Turkey, along with several members of the Gaza government, Al-Ahram reported.
“In Egypt, we aspire for stability, security and productivity,” Morsi declared in his speech. “The Egyptian people are now on the path towards national revival and the establishment of a true civilization for the nation.”
He went on to reject any outside interference in Egypt’s domestic affairs.
The speech comes amid reports earlier on Sunday that Morsi has expressed willingness to meet top Israeli officials. According to the Yisrael Hayom newspaper which published the report, his preference would be to meet with President Shimon Peres.
The report said that if such a meeting takes place it would occur in Washington, shortly after the U.S. election. During the meeting, the two officials would attempt to set a new basis for the sour relations between Israel and Egypt, which nearly fell apart after an Egyptian mob stormed the Israeli embassy in Cairo last year.
Last week, in his address to the United Nations, Morsi hit out at Israel over its veiled threats to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities and the deadlock in the Middle East peace process.
Morsi said the Middle East “no longer tolerates” any country’s refusal to join the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty “especially if this is coupled with irresponsible policies or arbitrary threats.”
“The acceptance by the international community of the principle of pre-emptiveness or the attempt to legitimize it is in itself a serious matter and must be firmly confronted to avoid the prevalence of the law of the jungle,” he said.
Morsi also put the Israel-Arab conflict ahead of the Syria war in the list of priorities he laid out before the General Assembly.
“The first issue which the world must exert all its efforts in resolving, on the basis of justice and dignity, is the Palestinian cause,” Morsi said.
He said that UN resolutions on the conflict had not been implemented and that Palestinian Authority Arabs “must also taste the fruits of freedom and dignity” that other countries in the Arab region have won in the past year.