Interview: Egypt needs "emergency" gov't to end political crisis: opposition NSF leader

2013-02-17 17:42:39 GMT2013-02-18 01:42:39(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

by Mahmoud Fouly

CAIRO, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- Egypt needs a national salvation government or "an emergency government" to bring an end to the ongoing political crisis, Amr Moussa, a leading member of the opposition National Salvation Front (NSF), told Xinhua in an exclusive interview.

Moussa, who is a former Arab League chief, termed the current political situation in Egypt as "a historic crisis."

"We believe it is necessary to form a new government, a government of national unity that gathers all real and effective political forces, as we believe that one faction (referring to the Muslim Brotherhood) cannot alone deal with the current dangerous political and economic crises," Moussa said.

Egypt is currently undergoing political instability due to a sharp division between Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi, his supporters, and the opposition, mostly secularists, liberals, leftists and Copts, which has recently led to bloody clashes between the two sides.

Moussa said that the formation of the new government representing all political powers and postponement of parliamentary elections, which are expected to be held next month, are the best ways to resolve the ongoing crisis.

"Many of us in the NSF see it is necessary to delay the parliamentary elections, because they are scheduled to kick off soon. Meanwhile, the economic crisis is expected to escalate in three months. This will cause confusion in priorities that will lead to additional disorder to the current turmoil," he added.

"It's better to delay elections for six months or one year and form a national unity government," Moussa noted.

The opposition, particularly the NSF, recurrently voiced concerns over holding the coming parliamentary elections under the current "Islamist-dominated government."

Therefore, Moussa, who also leads the opposition Conference Party, strongly recommended "the elections should not be performed except under an unbiased government to ensure their integrity and credibility."

After deadly clashes between anti-government protesters and police, Morsi urged late January for holding a national dialogue among all political forces including his opponents and supporters, yet the NSF rejected to attend the dialogue session.

"No one rejects dialogue, provided it is serious and fruitful. We demanded a new government of national salvation but it seems that the presidency refuses. We call for a quick investigation into the youth killed in recent protests but it did not happen. We called also for amending the newly-adopted constitution but nothing happened," Moussa said.

"Our demands were rejected, so what will we dialogue about?" he wondered.

Moussa, one of Morsi's rivals in the previous presidential elections, denied accusations that the NSF conspired against " President Morsi and the current regime."

"Opposition is not a conspiracy," Moussa told Xinhua, stressing that the NSF, the main opposition bloc in Egypt, did not urge anti- government protesters to call for toppling Morsi's administration.

"The protests and clashes are expression of the people's anger and disappointment, not a conspiracy motivated by the NSF. It is just a reaction of the street," Moussa said, referring to some Islamist accusations.

"We do not demand Morsi to step down. This is just the position of demonstrators who call for ousting Morsi, but Morsi is a legitimate president because he has been elected," Moussa explained.

Egypt is going through an economic crisis due to constant political chaos over the past two years, since the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.

Moussa, a former foreign minister under Mubarak administration, called the current economic situation as "dangerous economic recession."

Moussa pointed out that he has submitted an economic initiative including a short-term and middle-term plans over the coming four or five years through which the country would get 100 billion U.S. dollars in the form of investments, tourism and facilitated loans from the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Union, the United States or a number of big countries that wanted to rescue Egypt's economy, including China.

"We must include China. As China is a great power. So, if we're talking about economic support or a certain economic program based on investments, tourism, facilitated loans, joint projects, etc, China must be one of the courtiers we talk to," he said.

As for the newly-emerged National Conscience Front (NCF), which is composed of liberal and Islamist parties and public figures that mostly participated in the president-sponsored national dialogue rejected by the NSF and is commonly seen as a challenge to the NSF, Moussa said "We would not negatively comment on the NCF, but I do not think it can affect the current Egyptian political situation."

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