Egypt's Islamist president said on Saturday that having a strong relationship with Iran is important for Egypt at this time to be able to work out a way to end the bloodshed in Syria.

Speaking in a televised interview, his first to state TV since his election last June, President Mohamed Morsy described Iran as "a main player in the region that could have an active and supportive role in solving the Syrian problem."

Morsy, in a move to revive Egypt's role in the region, asked last month for Iran to join a quartet committee he called for which includes Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey and Egypt to try to find a solution to the violence in Syria.

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