World Bulletin / News Desk
Egypt's President Mohamed Mursi has canceled a meeting of four regional powers on the Syria crisis because of the absence of Turkey's prime minister from this week's U.N. General Assembly, according to Egypt's presidential spokesman.
Erdogan cancelled his trip to New York due to preparations for the Justice and Development (AK) Party's upcoming Fourth Great Congress and a very busy schedule.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu will represent Turkey at the UN General Assembly.
The quartet of Egypt, Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia arose from an initiative by Egypt, whose new president is looking to make his mark with what he has described as a balanced foreign policy.
"There was supposed to be (a) meeting this week, but due to the absence of the Turkish prime minister it's now canceled," presidential spokesman Yasser Ali told reporters late on Tuesday, referring to Turkey's Tayyip Erdogan.
Saudi Arabia stayed away from the quartet's last meeting, which Cairo hosted on Sept. 17.
"We believe that through negotiations and not military intervention the situation in Syria can be resolved. The president (Mursi) believes that progress can made through the quartet committee," Ali added.
Activists say that 27,000 people have been killed in Syria's uprising, which began as peaceful demonstrations for reform 18 months ago but turned into an armed insurgency fighting to topple Assad, with sectarian overtones that could drag in regional powers.
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Assistant Secretary of State Wess Mitchell told reporters after talks with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades on Friday that the U.S. also wants to see a resumption of talks to reunify the ethnically divided island nation.
"There were seven people aboard, they are all believed to be dead," the official said, adding they were US service members.