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Cairo's shifting stance on Syrian crisis

Cairo and its regional ally Riyadh have not been seeing eye to eye when it comes to the Syrian crisis and ways to resolve it, amid bitterness on the part of Syrian opposition factions that accuse Cairo of not strongly contributing to finding a solution to the crisis.
Former Syrian Coalition head Ahmad al-Jarba (L) attends the opening session of a Syrian opposition conference, in Cairo, Egypt June 8, 2015. Syrian opposition members are meeting with Egyptian officials in Cairo to discuss the ongoing crisis in Syria and the need for a united opposition.  REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany - RTX1FN3W

CAIRO — Following the June 8 conclusion of a conference of Syrian opposition forces in Cairo, it looks like Egypt might be adopting a new policy on the Syrian crisis, shifting a position formerly supportive of its strategic regional partner Saudi Arabia. The government is now rejecting a military solution and instead calling for a political resolution to the crisis that erupted with the Syrian revolution in 2011.

Cairo’s position has changed with each new regime over the last four years, beginning with the January 25 Revolution through the current administration of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. It remained diplomatically silent, declining any significant role, even through the Arab League, during the military's rule in 2011 and 2012 until Mohammed Morsi became president. Morsi, believing that ousting President Bashar al-Assad was a moral duty, severed diplomatic relations, thus turning Cairo into a safe haven for Syrian opposition forces. Things changed again, however, when Sisi took power, in June 2014, and sought out middle ground to avoid jeopardizing relations with international and regional actors, primarily Saudi Arabia and Russia, which have taken conflicting positions on Syria.

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