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Ex-Arab League chief says Al-Sisi meets all presidential requirements

The former Secretary General of the Arab League and President of the Committee of 50 that put the new Egyptian constitution into place has said that he believes that General Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi meets all of the requirements for the post of president of Egypt. Amr Moussa claimed that the defence minister has the people's trust and confidence and that they "desire" his nomination for the presidency.

According to Moussa, the new president's priority will be the completion of the so-called road map and starting the reconstruction of Egypt by guiding it towards the future through a politically and economically clear plan. Egypt, he insisted, has to regain its power domestically, regionally and internationally.

Speaking to Al-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper, Moussa expressed his wish for Egypt to be restored to its leading role in African affairs and for the decision to freeze its membership of the African Union to be reversed. He noted that the implementation of the road map endorsed by the army in accordance with the civil and political forces after the June 30th coup that overthrew the elected president could speed up this process.

"Africa will lose without Egypt, and Egypt will lose without Africa," he said. "We must double our efforts to end this matter and Egypt must regain its effectiveness in the continent and the African Union." He stressed that he feels troubled that Egypt was not invited to the latest AU summit.

"We have very active diplomacy, but we also require economic diplomacy and a return to the African markets, as well as the establishment of mutual interests between Egypt and the countries of Africa, because economic interests represent cement in a construction project, especially when the different parties involved benefit from such interests," Moussa told the newspaper. "This phase requires there not only to be diplomatic work, but also great investment work. Egypt has businessmen who have the ability and knowledge of Africa, and the African markets are rich and promising and can accommodate many investments and trade."

He explained that Egypt must draft a new policy for cooperation with Africa, including agricultural projects that contribute to food security and the treatment of water problems, as well as economic projects that generate mutual benefits for all of the parties involved. This, he stressed, is the foundation upon which strong political and diplomatic work is built.

Moussa also mentioned the issue of Al-Nahda Dam on the Nile, saying that it requires very strong diplomacy and long-term effort that not only addresses the issue of the dam itself but also deals with the overall relationship between Egypt and Ethiopia, as well as Sudan. The latter could affect an atmosphere of mutual goodwill and satisfaction with these projects.

As for the sensitive and delicate period witnessed by Egypt during the transitional phase and its impact on its dealings with the portfolios being proposed to the government, Moussa said, "Unfortunately Egypt is weak and its vital interests are being threatened, especially its water."

Ironically for a man who supported the overthrow of democracy with the ousting of Mohammed Morsi, Moussa claimed that the implementation of the new Constitution, which he helped to draft, is "guaranteed by democracy and the parliament".

"When we elect the president and parliament and when each one of these institutions carries out their duties and responsibilities, it means that they are working within the framework of the Constitution. The guarantee for the implementation of the Constitution is the democratic process, which plays its role through the institutions operating in accordance with the Constitution." Every Egyptian, he claimed, can benefit from the new constitution which is "inclusive", regardless of whether a person is Islamic, secular or nationalist in inclination.

When asked whether the situation of the Egyptian economy and the lack of a big budget would prevent the government from meeting the demands on health, education, housing and so on, Moussa explained that if the issues of corruption, waste and mismanagement are dealt with, and if Egypt makes optimal use of its resources, "then this will be enough".

Does he fear for the future of Egypt? Moussa said that the seriousness in Egypt is the clear guarantee that the country will be saved from all of these "conspiracies".

"I do not care as much about the international issues as I do about internal affairs," he said, "which are expected to become stronger." This, he insisted, is the main and real guarantee of standing in the face of any "sabotage" and the "violence, terrorism and bloodshed" which is challenging the security agencies.

In conclusion, Amr Moussa commented on the "foreign interference" in Egyptian affairs, especially by Qatar, Iran and Turkey. "It is important for us to expect such things now that the world has opened countries up to each other. Whether they support us or oppose us is something that we will have to deal with discreetly." Such matters should be dealt with through, for example, the Arab League or the Gulf Cooperation Council, and not personalised.

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