Egypt on 'right path', FM says in Sudan

AFP , Monday 19 Aug 2013

Egypt's interim FM Nabil Fahmy says Cairo will push ahead with its 'roadmap' in order to pave the way for a democratic political system

Egyptian-Sudanese Relations
Egypt's Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy walks with his Sudanese counterpart Ali Karti (L) after arriving on an official visit to Khartoum August 19, 2013 (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt is on the "right path", foreign minister Nabil Fahmy said Monday in Sudan on his first trip abroad, after hundreds died in clashes between Egyptian Islamists and security forces.

"Yes there is a crisis but we are on the right path and I believe in the future," he said after talks with his Sudanese counterpart Ali Karti.

Fahmy said Egypt would push ahead with its "roadmap", an army-drafted plan providing for elections in 2014.

"Our top priority is the national security of Egypt," the minister said.

"The coming Egyptian political system will be a democratic, open regime and open to all according to constitutional rules that will be written soon."

Fahmy warned, however, that anyone resorting to violence would be held to account "under the law," and would be left out of Egypt's future.

A former ambassador to Washington, Fahmy was sworn in as part of an interim government after the Egyptian military toppled the country's Islamist president Mohamed Morsi on 3 July.

The ouster of Morsi, a former Muslim Brotherhood leader who became his country's first freely elected president in 2012, followed popular mass protests across the nation calling for his resignation.

But almost 800 people have died in Egypt since last Wednesday when security forces moved to disperse two Cairo protest camps of Morsi's supporters, drawing global condemnation including from Sudan whose government calls itself Islamist.

Egypt's military chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi pledged a "forceful" response to further attacks on police and government buildings.

Such attacks, said Fahmy, "confirmed that there is a plan to spread fear among Egyptian citizens and to shake Egypt.

"We will not allow anyone to make Egyptians fearful."

Fahmy said his regime wants to clarify the situation for its neighbours "especially Sudan", which Egypt and Britain jointly ruled until 1956.

"We came here with a clear political message: We want cooperation for the interests of the countries."

Fahmy left Sudan immediately after his talks with Karti.

Khalid Tijani, a Sudanese analyst, said he understood the visit had been planned ahead of the Egyptian crackdown, as part of efforts to reassure Sudan's neighbours after the change of regime.

"Unfortunately now, the scene is different" because of the violence, said Tijani, chief editor of the weekly economic newspaper Elaff.

But he said he thinks both countries want to maintain good relations because they have many mutual interests.

There are close links between the peoples of the neighbouring countries, which have extensive economic ties and depend upon the waters of the Nile river.

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