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Egyptian leaders reject "return to Mursi era" - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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A picture taken July 29, 2013 shows posters on a street in Cairo of Egypt's army chief General Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi. AFP PHOTO/FAYEZ NURELDINE

A picture taken July 29, 2013, shows posters on a street in Cairo of Egypt’s army chief, Gen. Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi. (AFP PHOTO/FAYEZ NURELDINE)

Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat—In response to an initiative by figures close to the Muslim Brotherhood that would lead to a return of ousted president Mohamed Mursi, a military source speaking on the condition of anonymity told Asharq Al-Awsat yesterday that such initiatives would only prolong and complicate the crisis.

He added that the authorities at this stage gave priority to security, not negotiations that would take the issue back to the starting point, which Egyptians did not want.

Speaking in a news conference on Sunday, Mostafa Higazi, an Egyptian presidental adviser for strategic affairs, said all initiatives that aim at achieving peace in the country were welcome. However, he said these initiatives should not suggest a return to the pre-June 30 era.

The Egyptian presidency expressed “sadness for the bloodshed” that has recently killed approximately 100 Egyptians over the past three days, and said there had been a wave of terrorism in the country. Higazi said the state would work hard to defend the public from the “terrorist war” that has been waged against it for nearly a month in various areas of the country.

He added that the actions of “terror groups” had exceeded peaceful protests and freedom of expression and, therefore, it had become imperative for the government to take the measures necessary to protect the public.

He said human rights meant that people should be able to live peacefully, without being threatened and their lives disrupted, and that “protesters at Rabaa Al-Adawiya and Nahda Square are trying to look like the victims to improve their position in the negotiations,” stressing that political differences could not be resolved by violence.

Higazi promised that “anyone who has blood on their hands would be punished, whichever party they belong to, and that the bloodshed should not be exploited to gain sympathy, or be used in negotiations.” He said the government would not stand idly aside while the public was being attacked and subjected to political blackmail.

Gen. Muhammad Ibrahim, the interior minister, said: “people gave the police and the army the authority to confront those who attempted to destabilize the country.” He added: “We will not allow any bitter parties to spoil the atmosphere of unity, and we will sternly confront any attempts to disturb security.”

A meeting was held in Cairo yesterday, which included Interim President Adly Mansour, Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi, Gen. Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, Gen. Muhammad Ibrahim, and Vice-President for Foreign Affairs Mohamed El-Baradei, to discuss the events in Egypt and ways to deal with them.

Following the meeting, Baradei said his priorities now were “to urge all parties to condemn violence in all its forms, in order to reach national accord which would take Egypt to safety.” He later said on his Twitter account: “I ask God for success in ending Egyptian bloodshed.”

Meanwhile, EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton is expected in Cairo on Monday for her second visit this month. Responding to questions at the news conference on Ashton’s visit, Higazi said: “She is not here on a mediation mission or to launch an initiative, but will hold meetings with all parties. We welcome all efforts that could help remove the tension and we understand the danger of the situation in Egypt. We do not accept the killing of Egyptians because of political differences. It is time to remove the tensions without bloodshed.”

Sharif Yamani also contributed to this report.