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Egypt embarrassed after legislator criticizes Emirates - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Essam El-Erian, deputy head of the Freedom and Justice Party, speaks during Egypt's Shura Council meeting in Cairo May 25, 2013. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Essam El-Erian, deputy head of the Freedom and Justice Party, speaks during Egypt’s Shura Council meeting in Cairo on May 25, 2013. (REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)

Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat—A prominent Muslim Brotherhood official, Essam El-Erian, has risked a diplomatic row between Egypt and the UAE after making statements in which he attacked Emirati officials.

Aryan is the party’s vice–chairman and a senior member of the upper house of the Egyptian legislature, the Shura Council.

During a meeting on Monday of the Foreign and Arab Affairs Committee at the Shura Council, Erian called on the foreign ministry to send a strong message to UAE officials in response to what he described as the “unacceptable treatment” of Egyptians in the Gulf state, saying “Egypt will not beg” and calling on “Emirati officials to come to their senses.”

He told Emirati officials that the “next tsunami will come their way from Pakistan and Iran, not Egypt,” and called on them “to live as kings with Arabs rather than be slaves to Persians.”

Earlier this year, the UAE arrested 11 Egyptians it accused of belonging to a “[Muslim] Brotherhood cell” operating in the country. A high-level Egyptian delegation visited the UAE at the time to discuss the issue but failed to resolve it.

The official spokesman of the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said Egypt was proud of its good relations with the UAE government and people, adding that these relations date back many years and rely on mutual respect and common interests, and were not affected by the comments of this nature.

The spokesman added that the foreign ministry was closely monitoring the treatment of Egyptian citizens detained in the UAE through its embassy in Abu Dhabi, and was ensuring they have the care and legal assistance they require.

The Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) has distanced itself from the comments saying they did not represent the official position of the party.

A statement issued by party chairman Mohammad Sa’ad Al-Katatni on Tuesday night said: “The statement attributed to party vice-chairman Essam El-Erian regarding the United Arab Emirates during the meeting of the Arab Affairs Committee at the Shura Council do not represent the party’s point of view and official stance.”

The Egyptian community in the UAE also issued a statement in response to Erian’s comments, which said: “Amid the critical circumstances in Egypt, which faces internal polarization and external problems, and which are causing damage to Egypt at international level, we find Erian’s comments to be disgraceful. [He was] attacking the UAE government and people, claiming Egyptians’ patience towards Emiratis was running out, and that Egyptian teachers did not teach Emiratis well, and then threatened Emiratis, saying the tsunami was coming their way from Iran and that they will be slaves to the Persians.”

The statement added: “We Egyptians living in the UAE strongly condemn Erian’s comments, in form and in substance, and emphasize that those comments do not represent us in any way, or represent our people, who appreciate the Emirati people, and Sheikh Zayid.”

In the meantime, many Egyptians have taken to social media websites to condemn Erian’s comments. One of the comments which appeared repeatedly was: “We are proud of the UAE government and people, and Erian does not represent us.”

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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