TEHRAN, Aug. 31 (UPI) -- Comments made by the Egyptian president in Iran were likely a reflection of his ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, the Syrian foreign minister said.
The Syrian delegation at the summit for the Non-Aligned Movement in Tehran walked out during a speech by Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi. Morsi said Syrian President Bashar Assad has lost his legitimacy to lead because of the conflict in Syria.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem told Egyptian news agency al-Ahram that Morsi's comments were likely a reflection of his party affiliation.
"We suspect that this statement has to do with his Muslim Brotherhood affiliations," the foreign minister said from Tehran. "This is what we felt anyway and we hope we are mistaken and we do hope that Egypt would always assume its leading role in the Arab world by doing what is in the best interests of Syria and its people."
Morsi was the presidential candidate from the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party. He resigned from the party when he won the presidency in June.
The Egyptian news service notes the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria has expressed opposition to the Syrian president. The foreign minister, however, said Damascus was "hoping that Egypt would assume a positive role" in conflict resolution.
Patrick Ventrell, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department, described Morsi's comments as "very helpful."