Byline: Associated Press
UNITED NATIONS -- Egypt's new President Mohammed Morsi assigned himself the heavyweight's role in the Middle East on Wednesday, declaring in his first speech to the United Nations that the civil war raging in Syria is the "tragedy of the age" and must be brought to an end.
In a wide-ranging address that touched on all major issues confronting the region, Morsi also decried Israeli settlement-building on territory Palestinians claim for a future state and condemned a film produced in the United States that denigrates Islam's Prophet Muhammad.
He urged all U.N. member nations to join in an effort to end what he called "the catastrophe in Syria" that pits the regime of Bashar Assad against opposition forces trying to end 40 years of dictatorship. More than 30,000 people have been killed in the 18-month conflict.
Morsi has called for Assad to step down and said Wednesday "the bloodshed in Syria and the humanitarian crisis …