CAIRO, Feb. 8 (UPI) -- Turkey, Egypt and Iran have begun a joint effort to end the 22-month-long conflict in Syria, Turkish President Abdullah Gul said at a conference in Cairo.
Speaking Friday at a news conference with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, Gul said he, Morsi and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad discussed the Syrian crisis on Wednesday in a meeting also attended by the foreign ministers of the three countries, the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet Daily News reported.
Gul stressed Syria was the highest-priority topic at the meeting, saying: "We spoke very openly about everything. We have started works to try to avoid Syria consuming itself, and our foreign ministers are working on the details."
Morsi said the three countries are working jointly to arrange a cease-fire in Syria "as soon as possible."
Gul also praised the push for democracy in Egypt, saying, "If Egypt, which we see as the flagship of the Arab world, realizes democracy with all its traditions and institutions, it will have a huge effect not only for Egypt itself but for the whole Arab and Muslim world."
The meeting came at the conference of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, where Gul called on Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down.
"The current regime in Syria should recognize the reality now. It should resign, and prevent the Syrian people from being destroyed," he said.