The Ruler of Dubai and UAE Prime Minister, Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, has said that he hopes General Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi will not run in the Egyptian presidential elections scheduled for later this year. He told the BBC World Service that he hopes Egypt's minister of defence will stay in the military and that someone else will run for the presidency.
"Egypt," insisted Shaikh Mohammed, "is a lot better without President Mohammed Morsi. I said before that they [the Muslim Brotherhood] will stay in power for one year only, and then the people and the military will find a solution. This is best for Egypt."
The UAE leader made his comments as he spoke about political affairs across the Middle East, including events in Syria, Iran and Palestine.
He expects Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad to leave power, because "if a ruler has killed his own people he cannot stay, but will leave eventually". Shaikh Mohammed stressed that the UAE will help Syria but will not interfere in the crisis, "as is the case" with neighbouring Qatar. "Qatar probably has its own reasons or vision, but the UAE does not want to intervene," he explained. "The UAE is only interested in supporting Syrian refugees who have been displaced by the conflict to neighbouring countries such as Jordan and Turkey."
With regards to Iran's nuclear programme, he called for the lifting of international sanctions as per the agreement reached by the Islamic Republic with the Western powers in November. "Iran is our neighbour and we do not want any problems. When international sanctions are removed, everyone will benefit. I believe that the Iranian government is sincere when it proclaims the peaceful nature of its nuclear programme." Western countries and Israel suspect that Iran has secret ambitions to manufacture nuclear weapons. The shaikh recalled a conversation he had with Iran's former president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who, he claims, said: "If I fired a missile at Israel, how many Palestinians will I kill? The United States and the European Union will then destroy my country. I'm not that crazy to go to this extent. It is a weapon of the past."
The UAE, the shaikh added, is willing to cooperate with Israel subject to it signing a peace agreement with the Palestinians. "We will do everything with Israel. We will trade with them and welcome them to our country. But they must sign a peace agreement first."
Concluding the interview, Shaikh Mohammed was asked whether he believed that his country has been fair by imprisoning a US national for highlighting the "cynicism of UAE youth". He said that although his country is not an ideal state, "it is trying its best to change and when errors are committed we try to change them."
Source: Al Quds Al Arabi