CAIRO - Agence France-Presse
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. AP photo
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said he wants his allies in the Syrian regime to negotiate with the opposition for the staging of a free election, in an interview with Egyptian state television.
The two sides should "sit at the negotiations table to find a solution to the crisis, through mutual understanding," Ahmadinejad, who is on a visit to Egypt, said in the interview broadcast late Wednesday.
He said the preferred outcome would be "free elections, and the Syrian people are the ones who decide Syria's fate".
Iran is the main regional backer of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime, while most Arab states support the opposition.
Syria has been ravaged by civil war that has killed an estimated 60,000 people in more than 22 months months, according to the United Nations.
Ahmadinejad, the first Iranian president to visit Egypt since the two countries severed ties after Iran's Islamic revolution in 1979, met Egyptian and Turkish leaders on Wednesday to discuss the Syrian conflict.