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Egypt presidential hopeful Sabbahi would revise relations with Israel

Nasserist Hamdin Sabbahi, who has declared his candidacy for president some weeks ago, says Egypt will not export gas to Israel if he is elected president

Hatem Maher , Sunday 17 Apr 2011
Hamdin Sabbahi
Hamdin Sabbahi gives his thoughts about Egypt-Israel relations
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Egyptian presidential hopeful Hamdin Sabbahi said he will put an end to the country’s “ignominy” when dealing with Israel if he is elected president.

Sabbahi, founder of party-to-be Al-Karama (Dignity), announced he would run for Egypt’s presidency, vacant following the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak in February.

Reflecting on the controversial relation with Israel, Sabbahi said he would not go to war but would rather keep "Egypt’s dignity intact".

“I will not be seeking war if I’m elected president, but I will not accept dealing with Israel the same way we deal with them now. Our heads should be held high,” he said in a news conference in El-Sawy Culture Wheel, an art and culture centre in the Zamalek district of Cairo.

“Out of respect to the Egyptian people, I will not permit exporting gas to Israel. I will neither accept the blockade of Gaza nor the closure of the border crossing.”

Egypt’s gas deal with Israel has drawn widespread criticism in the country since it was struck in 2005. The matter became more controversial following the popular revolt that ended Mubarak’s 30-year authoritarian rule.

Interim Prime Minister Essam Sharaf said last month that the cabinet would reconsider the deal which analysts say allows Israel to buy Egyptian natural gas for far below market prices.

The previous regime was also heavily criticised for "conspiring against Palestine", especially following the construction of an underground iron wall along Egypt’s border with the Gaza Strip.

“We should help the Palestinians fulfil their legitimate demands. Egypt should not follow the instructions of Israel and the United States,” Sabbahi added.

Arab League chief Amr Mousa, former UN nuclear chief Mohamed ElBaradei, opposition figure Ayman Nour and judge Hesham Bastawisy have already revealed their intention to contest Egypt’s presidential election.

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