National reconciliation efforts will start next week: Egypt's presidency

Ahram Online, Wednesday 17 Jul 2013

The government will reach out to all political forces, including the Muslim Brotherhood, says president's aide

Mostafa Hegazy
Egypt’s presidential aide for political affairs Mostafa Hegazy (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Egypt’s presidential aide for political affairs Mostafa Hegazy announced on Wednesday that parliamentary elections and presidential elections are planned to be finalized in an estimate of 9 months.

The electoral processes will come following a nationwide referendum on the constitution amendments that will be proposed by the committee formed of both legal and political experts tasked with amending the national charter, according to Hegazy’s statement in a press conference held at the presidential palace.

Hegazy further announced that communications with all political forces including the Muslim Brotherhood and their political party will start next week as initial steps for the seeked national reconciliation.

“There can’t be reconciliation without transitional justice,” he added pointing out that a new cabinet has been made to replace the ministry of justice named “transitional justice and national reconciliation”.

Meanwhile, speaking of Pro-Morsi supporters Hegazy stressed that peaceful protesting is right granted for all citizens.

“However, protesting by blocking roads and disturbing the state will be met with the enforcement of the law, and the presidency and state abides by what the law says,” he said promising that no exceptional measures will be taken.

On Monday, seven people were killed and 261 injured in overnight clashes between the police and pro-Morsi demonstrators in downtown Cairo and Giza.

The violence broke out late on Monday after police forces fired teargas at Morsi supporters who had blocked the 6 October Bridge and Ramsis Street in downtown Cairo.

Regarding the western stance- both the European and the American- on what he described as the “30 June revolution”, Hegazy described it as being very vague at the start, however, he says it had gradually change after “the picture was clearer on the reality of the Egyptian revolution."

“For example in our meeting with EU’s Catherine Ashton today [Wednesday] we tried so hard to present her the truth... which is that a popular revolution erupted and it was supported by the army,” he said adding that she was also told of the planned road map which will be based on enforcing a new constitution, social justice and coexistence.

During the press conference Hegazy said that military operations are ongoing in restiva Sinai in attempt to purge it from terrorists, adding that the planes flying over Gaza are part of security measures taken to “protect Egyptian sovereignty”.

Egypt has witnessed a sharp rise in militant attacks in the Sinai Peninsula since former president Mohamed Morsi was removed by the army on 3 July amid mass protests against his rule.

At least 10 policemen died in militant attacks since Morsi's ouster.

The press conference also tackled the controversial Ethiopia’s renaissance dam, where Hegazy vowed that a detailed vision for dealing with the issue is being discussed and will be revealed soon.

The under-construction Renaissance Dam has been a source of concern for the Egyptian government, amid sensitivities about any effect on the volume of water that will reach Egypt if the project is completed.

Egypt will need an additional 21 billion cubic metres of water per year by 2050, on top of its current quota of 55 billion metres, to meet the water needs of a projected population of 150 million people, according to Egypt's National Planning Institute.

When asked about ElBaradei’s meeting with foreign officials in different meeting than theirs with the interim president, Hegazy stressed that such meetings are planned and agreed on and reflects no conflict within the presidency.

He further pointed out that such meetings are only normal given that ElBaradei is the Vice president for international affairs.

In the past few days ElBaradei has separately met both US undersecretary of state Bill Burns and EU’s top representative Catherine Ashton.

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