Egypt’s Morsy wants Assad tried for war crimes


Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy supports calls by people in Syria for President Bashar al-Assad to be tried for war crimes, he told CNN on Sunday in an exclusive interview.

Morsy has also invited the heads of the two major Palestinian factions to meet in Cairo in hopes of building unity — a task he acknowledged won’t be easy.

Speaking to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer in Cairo, Morsy said he invited Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to meet with Khaled Meshaal, the political leader of Hamas, who lives in Cairo.

Hamas controls Gaza; Abbas’ party, Fatah, controls the West Bank. The two factions have clashed violently over the years.

The United States, Israel, and the European Union list Hamas as a terrorist organization. The group has carried out numerous attacks killing scores of civilians.

Morsy, who came to power in June after the country’s first democratic elections, helped broker an end to the November conflict between Israel and militants in Gaza.

In the interview Sunday with CNN, Morsy sought to assure viewers around the world, as well as people in his own country, that he is committed to promoting democracy and protecting minorities, including the country’s Coptic Christians, from discrimination.

Having spent time in the United States receiving a doctorate at the University of Southern California, Morsy knows U.S. democracy — and said he is committed to allowing free speech.

Asked about Syria, he repeated his previous calls for al-Assad to leave power. And, he said, he supports the many Syrian people who want al-Assad charged with war crimes for what he has done in the conflict since 2011.