CAIRO (Reuters) – Leaders of Islamic nations will press for a negotiated end to Syria’s civil war at a summit in Cairo starting on Wednesday that thrusts Egypt’s new Islamist president to center stage amid political and economic turbulence.
With Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad making an ice-breaking visit to Egypt after 34 years of estrangement, the two-day meeting will focus on how to stop bloodshed in Syria, where Tehran is one of President Bashar al-Assad’s last allies.
A communique drafted by foreign ministers of the 56-member Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and seen by Reuters blames Assad’s government for most of the slaughter and urges it to open talks on a political transition.
It also endorses the opposition Syrian National Coalition (SNC) and urges it 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”.
The draft statement, subject to amendment at the summit, calls for a Syrian-led solution to the conflict, in which some 60,000 people have died, and rejected outside intervention.