Egypt firmly backs Syria change but not from outside

February 15, 2012 18:31

CAIRO - Egypt called on Wednesday for change in Syria that met its people's demands, Cairo's strongest language yet on the crisis, though it ruled out supporting outside military intervention.

Egypt has backed Arab League resolutions demanding Syrian President Bashar Assad step aside but diplomats say it is wary of a diplomatic push from Gulf states, whose latest plan to end the crisis could open the door to arms shipments to the opposition.

"The situation in Syria is deteriorating quickly ... The time has come for the required change to avoid a complete explosion in the situation in Syria," Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr said.

Egypt has long been a driving force in the region but has kept a lower profile on Syria as it deals with its own political turmoil. In contrast, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have been flexing their diplomatic muscles, keen to end Assad's alliance with regional rival Iran.

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