CAIRO - A major Islamic summit opened in Cairo Wednesday, February 6, with a deadly conflict in Syria that claimed thousands of lives is dominating the event.
"The Syrian regime must draw lessons from history: it is the people who remain, Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi said in his opening speech cited by Agence France-Presse (AFP).
Those who put their personal interests above the interests of their people will end up leaving.
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The two-day summit is attended by the 57 members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
Syria is not present at the Islamic summit after being suspended from the OIC last August.
The Syrian opposition said it had not received an invitation and would not be attending.
Morsi urged all OIC members to support the Syrian opposition's efforts to unite and bring about change.
A communique drafted by OIC foreign ministers and seen by Reuters blames Assad's government for most of the slaughter and urges it to open talks on a political transition.
"We urge the Syrian regime to show wisdom and call for serious dialogue to take place between the national coalition of the Syrian revolution, opposition forces, and representatives of the Syrian government committed to political transformation in Syria and those who have not been directly involved in any form of oppression..."
The draft also urged the opposition Syrian National Coalition (SNC) to speed up the creation of a transitional government "to be ready to assume responsibility in full until the completion of the desired political change process".
Diplomats said Iran had objected to the wording and it might be toned down to spread responsibility more evenly.
Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said the statement had to be adopted by consensus and would stress the need for dialogue and a political solution.
More than 60,000 people have been killed and many tens of thousands more displaced in a 19-month uprising against the regime of President Bashar Al-Assad.
The revolt against Assad began as peaceful protests calling for democracy and greater rights, but gradually turned to an armed struggle, pitting the Sunni majority against the president and his minority Alawite sect.
The Egyptian president also called for ending the plight of the Palestinian people under the decades-long Israeli occupation.
Egypt is clearly and firmly committed to supporting the Palestinian people until they gain their freedom in an independent state, Morsi said.
The international community has a responsibility to stop settlement activity on Palestinian land, which stabs the peace process in the heart, he said, referring to Israeli settlements.
US-sponsored peace talks collapsed in 2011 over Israel's refusal to halt settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian lands.
Israel has accelerated settlement building in recent month in response to the upgrading of Palestine to a non-member status at the UN General Assembly last year.
Morsi sought to project his country as the leader of the Muslim world in his speech seven months after becoming Egypt's first democratically elected head of state.
The Islamist leader, whose country is taking over the OIC chair at a time of upheaval in the Arab world, said he is building a new era in Egypt based on justice.Egypt's "glorious January 25 revolution" that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011 "forms the cornerstone in the launching of this nation to new horizons of progress, he said.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net