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Egypt cuts diplomatic ties with Syria

President Mohamed Morsi announces closure of embassies in Damascus and Cairo, and calls for imposition of no-fly zone.

Last Modified: 16 Jun 2013 05:16
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Mohamed Morsi, Egypt's president, has announced that Egypt is cutting off diplomatic relations with Syria and has ordered that Damascus Embassy in Cairo to be closed.

Morsi told thousands of supporters in a rally held on Saturday that his government is also withdrawing the Egyptian charge d'affaires from Damascus.

Morsi also called on Lebanon's Hezbollah armed group to leave Syria, where the group has been fighting alongside troops loyal to embattled President Bashar al-Assad against the rebel forces.

"We stand against Hezbollah in its aggression against the Syrian people," Morsi said. "Hezbollah must leave Syria - these are serious words. There is no space or place for Hezbollah in Syria."

The Egyptian president also called on the international community to implement a no-fly zone over Syria, where the UN says that more than 93,000 people have been killed since a popular uprising escalated into civil war more than two years ago.

The rally that Morsi addressed on Saturday was called for by loyalists to the Egyptian president to show solidarity with the people of Syria. However, Morsi also used the occasion to warn his opponents at home against the use of violence in mass protests planned for June 30, the anniversary of his assumption to power.

Morsi repeated the allegation that Egyptians loyal to the now-ousted regime of autocrat Hosni Mubarak were behind the planned protests and that they were working against the January 2011 uprising that toppled Mubarak.

"Some who are delusionary want to pounce on the January revolution and think that they can undermine the stability that is growing daily or undermine the resolve that people have clearly forged with their will,'' he said.

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