Egypt's Nour Party supports defence minister's comments on reconciliation

Ahram Online, Monday 24 Jun 2013

Country's largest Salafist party backs up Defence Minister Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi's recent comments calling for national reconciliation and dialogue while hinting at possible return of army to politics

Egypt's Salafist Nour Party "completely agrees" with recent statements by Defence Minister Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi regarding Egypt's charged domestic political scene, Nour Party Secretary-General Galal Mora said Monday.

On Sunday, El-Sisi called on Egyptian political forces to reconcile with one another "for the sake of Egypt." The minister made the statement ahead of mass protests slated for 30 June to demand the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi and snap presidential elections.

''El-Sisi's statements are in line with the Nour Party's vision of how to solve the current crisis, namely, through dialogue and consensus,'' Mora declared.

Although El-Sisi, who was appointed by President Mohamed Morsi last year, has vowed that the army would remain "at equal distance" from Egypt's rival political camps (Islamist supporters of President Morsi and his opponents), the defence minister also recently stated that "the army's bond with the people is eternal."

One week before the planned 30 June anti-Morsi rallies, El-Sisi asserted that, "Those who think they can break this bond [between army and people] are mistaken. The armed forces will not stand silent any longer against repeated insults to Egypt's military institution and its symbols."

Mora, for his part, said: ''The army's important role can't be denied...political figures should not belittle or disrespect the role of the army and its symbols.'' He went on to say that "Egypt's enemies are trying to belittle the army and dismantle it."

The Nour Party has recently maintained a neutral position between the opposition and presidency.

The party did not formally participate in Friday's pro-Morsi rallies in Cairo, which, party spokesman declared, "only serves to encourage the current crisis, thereby harming the country and its economy."

El-Sisi's statements also drew criticism from some quarters.

Prominent Salafist preacher Hazem Abu-Ismail – who was disqualified from last year's presidential polls on a legal technicality – denounced the defence minister's comments, saying that talk of the military's return to domestic politics should "be stopped before matters get out of hand."  

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