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Mursi Vows to Support Palestinians, Respect Existing Treaties

Egypt’s new Islamist President Mohamed Mursi today vowed to support the Palestinians in their quest for a homeland, while also saying his government will respect its existing international agreements, an acknowledgment of its peace treaty with Israel.

Mursi, in his first speech after he was sworn into office, also said that bloodshed in Syria must end and that Egypt won’t stand for any attempts to violate Arab regional security. The remarks underscored a push to reclaim for Egypt the mantle of Arab leadership following the ouster of Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.

“I declare from here that Egypt -- the people, the nation, the government and the presidency -- stands by the Palestinian people until they get all their legitimate rights,” Mursi said, speaking in the same Cairo University hall where U.S. President Barack Obama had addressed Egyptians and the Muslim world in 2009. “We will work for the completion of the national Palestinian reconciliation so that the Palestinian people can unite their ranks to regain their land and sovereignty.”

Under Mubarak, Egypt was seen as Israel’s closest regional ally in an area where few nations recognize the Jewish state. Those relations have frayed since Mubarak’s removal, raising concern that the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, from whose ranks Mursi was drawn, might jeopardize the more than three decade-old peace agreement between Israel and the largest Arab nation.

“We carry a message of peace to the world,” Mursi said later in the speech. “We stress respecting the commitments of the Egyptian state in treaties and international agreements,” he said.

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