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Egypt president urges voting in constitutional referendum

Adly Mansour says Morsi ouster prevented civil war; dismisses chances of reconciliation with 'criminal' Muslim Brotherhood

Ahram Online, Wednesday 20 Nov 2013
Adly Mansour
Egypt's interim President Adly Mansour attends a meeting with General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu (not pictured) at El-Thadiya presidential palace in Cairo, November 14, 2013 (Photo: Reuters)
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Interim president Adly Mansour has called on Egyptians to vote in an upcoming constitutional referendum, Al-Ahram Arabic news website reported.

“We are moving steadily towards the realisation of the roadmap, and the new constitution will be the result of the revolution’s success. For this reason I invite people to participate in the referendum on the constitution after it is completed in the coming days,” Mansour said.

Speaking to reporters at the Arab African Summit in Kuwait, Mansour said the army had prevented civil war when it ousted president Mohamed Morsi amid mass protests against his rule.

Since Morsi’s ouster in July, Egypt’s interim authorities have been committed to a transitional roadmap they say will lead the country to democracy. It entails a referendum on changes to the 2012 Islamist-drafted constitution, then parliamentary and presidential elections.

The president also dismissed chances of reconciliation with Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, which has been organising frequent protests calling for his reinstatement as president.

“Reconciliation with whom?” Mansour said. “Can we reconcile with a criminal?”

Kuwait, Ethiopia dam

Mansour announced Egypt would be receiving an additional aid package of several billion dollars from Kuwait, in addition to the $4 billion already pledged.

Kuwait offered $4 billion in aid to Egypt shortly after Morsi's ouster, of which it received $2 billion in September; one billion in the form of a grant and another in oil products.

As for the controversial Ethiopian high dam, Mansour expressed optimism regarding current negotiations.

“We are looking for a balance between the Nile basin countries’ interests and Egypt’s interests. This is why we are trying to get to an agreement through negotiations.”

The coming stage will witness increased economic cooperation between Egypt and Ethiopia, with a prominent role for the private sector, Mansour added.

The giant $4.2 billion dam being built on the Blue Nile, near the Sudanese border, was announced two years ago but Egypt was alarmed when engineers started diverting the river in May as part of construction work at the site.

With Egypt and Sudan voicing strong objections to the project, an international committee of experts was formed to assess the situation. The committee included two experts each from Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan, plus four international experts from Germany, the United Kingdom, France and South Africa specialised in dams, water resources and the environment.

Mansour said Egypt was determined to have international experts at a meeting in Sudan’s capital Khartoum on 8 December between Sudanese, Ethiopian and Egyptian representatives.

“We have asked Ethiopia to provide answers to several questions and technical points raised by the committee of international experts," he added.


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