In an interview with CNN this weekend, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi reiterated earlier calls for Syrian president Bashar al-Assad to step down, and even agreed with the idea that he should be tried for his crimes. Speaking to CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer in Cairo, Morsi said that the Syrian people want him tried for war crimes before the International Criminal Court, and that he supports the "people" and their revolution the way they supported the Egyptian one.
Morsi comments seem to continue a pattern of actions that make him more popular outside his country than within it. His support for the Syrian rebels and his efforts to negotiate a truce between the Palestinian and the Israelis during last year's brief war in Gaza have him placed in an unusual position of peacemaker in the Middle East, even as Morsi's own country continues to be torn over its new constitution and his attempts to consolidate his own power.
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The calls for Assad's removal show that the international community isn't buying his half-hearted attempt to plead for peace in Syria. On Sunday, Assad made a rare public appearance to give a speech about "reconciliation" and the possibility of new elections in Syria—provided the rebels stop trying to kill him first. British Foreign Secretary William Hague said his words were "beyond hypocritical," echoing continued calls from other world leaders for Assad to give up and leave the country.
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