Egypt political parties react to deputy PM's peace proposal
Ahram Online, Thursday 22 Aug 2013
Nour, Strong Egypt Party and leftist Popular Alliance Party welcome 12-point initiative rejecting violence as well as exclusion

Some of Egypt's political parties cautiously welcomed the political initiative of Ziad Bahaa El-Din to end the current political crisis in Egypt.

Ziad Bahaa El-Din, Egypt’s deputy prime minister, presented the proposition to the cabinet last Wednesday. The proposal was published on Wednesday in Al-Shorouk newspaper.

The peace initiative is based on the rejection of violence and respect for places of worship and freedom of religion.

The initiative rejects the exclusion of any political or ideological currents in Egypt as long as those groups abide by the law. It also insists on moving forward with Egypt’s ‘roadmap’ adopted by the government to have a new constitution followed by free and fair parliamentary and presidential elections. The initiative also demanded an end to the state of emergency imposed by the interim president last Friday.

It also stated that the state is committed to the legal rights of all citizens, including the right of the defendants by offering a fair trial in front of a judge from the same area, and to detain defendants in secure and appropriate places. The initiative also called for non-discrimination based on political ideology as long as no crime was committed.

Other points in the initiative include: government adopting social justice policies, respecting the right of freedom of expression and freedom of press and the right of peaceful protesting and strike. It also stressed the respect for security forces’ right, in accordance with the law and with the highest degree of self-restraint, to stand against those who go against peaceful protesting or block highways to threaten people's livelihoods.

The Nour Party demanded to have a meeting with Bahaa El-Din to discuss the terms of the initiative, especially since it includes lifting the state of emergency, according to the party's spokesperson Sherif Taha.

Taha said the Nour Party calls on the Muslim Brotherhood-led National Coalition to Support Legitimacy to consider the initiative as a realistic option to end the current political crisis.

In a statement published on Wednesday, the leftist Popular Alliance Party also welcomed and supported the initiative, calling on the cabinet to adopt it. "The party stressed that the security solution will not be enough to stop terrorism and any attempt to confiscate public freedoms will create a growing environment for violence and terrorism. Fighting terrorism does not need exceptional laws as much it needs a complete vision like the one presented by vice prime minister's initiative that ensures social justice," the statement read.

The Strong Egypt Party also welcomed the initiative of Bahaa El-Din as a start for a true complete national reconciliation and to end the bloodshed in Egypt. "Still this depends on serious mechanisms to adopt the freedoms and rights mentioned in the initiative, including independent investigations in the massacres that happened in Sinai, Republican Guards Club, the dispersal of pro-Morsi sit-ins, the torching of churches, the attacks on police stations, the killing of protesters and sectarian violence," it said in a statement.