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El-Baradei issues statement regarding his time as vice president of Egypt

"...[The August 2013 Rabaa massacre] was action that I had absolutely opposed inside the National Defence Council, not only for ethical reasons but also because of the existence of political solutions almost unanimously agreed upon..."
Mohammed ELBaradie on 28th March 2013 [Mohamed ElBaradei/Facebook]
Mohammed ELBaradie on 28th March 2013 [Mohamed ElBaradei/Facebook]

The Facebook page of Egyptian politician Mohamed El-Baradei includes a statement about the period he spent serving under interim President Adly Mansour following the ousting of elected President Mohamed Morsi in 2013. The following is the text of the statement:

In light of the media lies about the period during which I was interim vice president of Egypt (14 July to 14 August 2013), this brief explanation may be useful to set out the facts and place them within the correct context.

The armed forces called on the representatives of all the political forces to come to a meeting on the afternoon of 3 July 2013. It was believed that this was aimed at discussing the explosive situation on the ground in response to the demands of the huge crowds rallying across Egypt since 30 June to hold an early presidential election due to the sharp polarisation in the country and the threat to national unity.

I was taken by surprise at the start of the meeting to learn that the President of the Republic [Mohamed Morsi] had in fact been detained by the armed forces on that very morning, without the prior knowledge of the national forces. This is what led to the non-participation of the leader of the Freedom and Justice Party, who had been invited to attend the meeting. As such, the options available became limited. Naturally, these did not include the possibility of conducting a referendum about holding early elections.

In light of such a status quo – a detained president and millions of people rallying in the squares – my priority was to work in order to avoid a civil war and to maintain peace and social cohesion through a road map – which was drawn-up in haste – built on assumptions that were completely different from the developments that took place henceforth. I imagined a prime minister and a government which enjoyed “all the powers to manage the transitional period”; parliamentary elections followed by early presidential elections; and – more importantly – a national reconciliation committee. In light of the aforementioned, I agreed to take part in the transitional period on this basis as a representative of the civil forces with the aim of helping the country to be delivered from a dangerous turn in, as far as possible, a peaceful manner.

In parallel with the road map, I contributed along with others – including representatives of Arab and foreign powers – in the mediation efforts with the supporters of the former president, with the knowledge and consent of all those concerned, including the representatives of the Military Council, in order to reach frameworks and understandings so as to avoid the violence that had begun to escalate in clashes between the supporters of the former president and the security forces and which led to the fall of so many victims. The objective of my presence in the official system was to reach a formula that would guarantee the participation “of all the children and currents of the homeland” in political life, as was stated in the communique of 3 July.

However, regrettably, and despite having reached tangible progress towards ending the impasse through dialogue that continued until 13 August, matters took a completely different turn after the use of force to break up the rallies. That was action that I had absolutely opposed inside the National Defence Council, not only for ethical reasons but also because of the existence of political solutions almost unanimously agreed upon, that could have saved the country from slipping into a vicious cycle of violence and division, and what this would result in with the deviation of the revolution and creating obstacles that hinder the accomplishment of its objectives.

It has become obvious to me now that this path contradicted the convictions of many people. This is what explains the vicious attack on me by the “media” as well as the direct threats I received during the short period of time in which I agreed to participate officially in public service. All of this was because of my endeavours to reach a peaceful resolution to the political crisis. Naturally, in light of the aforementioned use of violence, deceit and deviation from the path of the revolution, it was impossible for me to continue to participate in public service that contradicted my own convictions, principles and, in particular, the sacredness of life and the upholding of freedom and human dignity, even if this were opposed to the mainstream and the hysteria that prevailed at the time.

After I submitted my resignation for the reasons mentioned therein, instead of respecting my right to disagree over a matter that was for me and my conscience not negotiable, the severity of the vicious attack on me increased. This was launched by the media and remains based on lies and disinformation to misguide the public. In fact, the attack had started as early as the end of 2009 when I called for the necessity of political change.

Perhaps one of the striking examples in this regard was the recording and then broadcasting of my private phone calls, in violation of the constitution, the law, ethical values and conventions, apart from those in fascist regimes. One of those calls was with an American minister soon after the eruption of the revolution in which I demanded that his government provide economic and technical assistance to Egypt and that they should exert their efforts with the Gulf States, which at the time refrained from providing Egypt with any economic aid. That communication took place in the aftermath of a meeting I had with the leaders of the military council during which the critical economic situation in the country was discussed. As a result, I and some others attending the meeting who had foreign contacts expressed our readiness to communicate with our acquaintances to ask for assistance. The media released my phone call and claimed that it was a call with the US intelligence agency. Of course, those who recorded the call and ordered its broadcast – who were necessarily official agencies – continue to get away with what they did without any accountability, not to mention, of course, those who broadcast it.

Another striking example was the continued distortion and misrepresentation of the role of the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA, of which El-Baradei was the Director General] regarding its work of inspecting Iraq’s nuclear programme in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions. The work, in fact, was commended collectively by all of the agency’s member states, including Egypt but not the United States and Britain. Those two countries could not accept the results of the IAEA reports as well as the reports of the UN committee that was commissioned with the task of inspecting chemical and biological weapons. In all of these reports we stated clearly that we did not find any evidence that Iraq had revived a programme to develop weapons of mass destruction. These reports denied Washington and London the opportunity to obtain a UN Security Council resolution to legitimise the war on Iraq. As a result, they waged an illegitimate war, the cost of which we continue to pay to this day. At the time, the Egyptian media – just like the media in the rest of the world – commended the role of the IAEA. This continued until I called for political change in Egypt. As a result, the media posturing changed completely (it is possible to explore the shameful stance of the Egyptian media before and after 2009). The same applies to other innumerable lies about me personally that have continued since the Mubarak era until today without interruption.

The sad and regrettable thing is that the lies and disinformation continue to be exercised by all parties. On the one hand, there are those who claim that I travelled abroad before 30 June 2013 so as to lobby for and pave the way for the removal of the former president [Morsi]. They claim that I travelled to Israel and that there was a plan devised by the European Union to remove the former president and that I was in contact with the military council in this regard. They even claimed that I had prior knowledge of the decision by the Military Council to detain the former president. I only knew later on that this action was preceded by negotiations between the military council on the one hand and the former president and his group on the other. Neither party felt the need to inform the representatives of the civil forces of these negotiations. Had they done so we might have been able to help the two sides to reach a solution acceptable to both.

On the other hand, it continues to be alleged that there was no promising path for dispersing the rallies peacefully. It is also alleged that I consented to the decision to use force to break up the rally at Rabaa Al-Adawiyya and that I was behind the lack of an early intervention to break up the rallies before the escalation. They even went as far as claiming, falsely and ignorantly, that I did not condemn terrorism and extremism.

There is a lot more I can add of examples to illustrate the deceit and lying and the hijacking of the revolution, which I stood as witness to, and which consequently led to what we are facing now. I am only prevented from elaborating by the critical phase the country is passing through.

It goes without saying that my opinion was, and continues to be, that the future of Egypt will always be subject to reaching a formula for transitional justice and societal peace and a method of governance that is based on freedom, democracy, social justice, science and logic. May God protect Egypt and its people.

Translated from, 1 November, 2016

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