28 September 2012

Egypt: Morsy Tells Local Community in U.S - I Have No Power to Interfere in Constituent Assembly Works

Photo: Khaled Moussa al-Omrani/IPS.
Mursi supporters in Tahrir Square (file photo).

President Mohamed Morsy said he does not have the powers to interfere in the works of the constituent assembly drafting a new constitution for Egypt, adding the panel groups representatives of all segments of the Egyptian people, including Copts and women.

Morsy made the remarks during a meeting Wednesday with members of the Egyptian community in the United States to discuss challenges facing Egypt.

"I'm following the work of the panel, which comprises representatives of Copts, women and all sects of Egyptian society," he said.

He noted that all parties agree on keeping the 2nd article of the Constitution.

"The previous Constitution has many good articles, but they were never applied," he said.

He hailed the role played by the Egyptian army in protecting the revolution that toppled the regime of Hosni Mubarak.

"The Armed Forces have protected the revolution and refused to attack the revolutionaries," he said.

"The army has also run the transition period at a time where there were big differences between the political powers."

"The Armed Forces have also fulfilled their promise to hand over power after the presidential election," he said.

Morsy reiterated that his decision to change the army top brass was meant to achieve the goals of the revolution in handing over all powers to a civilian president.

The president denied reports that 11,000 revolutionaries are being held in custody.

"There are only 2,000, of which 1,000 have been released," he said in response to a question.

He also said that some of protestors held during deadly protests in front of the television headquarters have been released.

"I can't accept to keep someone behind bars, while he is innocent," the President stressed.

President Morsy rejected claims about persecution of Copts in Egypt. "Persecution does not exist on the soil of the homeland," he said.

"We are all people of the homeland," he said, reiterating that he rejected the word "minority" when it was cited while speaking about Copts during the meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative.

Morsy said Egypt is moving to a new era. "We might need some time to succeed in achieving this on the ground," he said.

The president said there are nearly 7 million jobless in Egypt in addition to 5 million women breadwinners, 8 million handicapped.

"Egypt has been exhausted because of the corrupt officials at that time," he said.

President Morsy has also rejected claims that women in Egypt are discriminated against.

"Women have entered all fields in Egypt," he stressed.

He also touched on the issue of Egyptian cleric Omar Abdel-Rahman, who is serving a life sentence in the US. He said there is an American judicial verdict to jail the cleric.

"What I want is to intervene for humanitarian reasons, not to interfere in a court ruling," he said.

"We want his family to be allowed to visit him and to serve his sentence in Egypt as part of a prisoner swap between Egypt and the US."

The president lamented that recent incidents around the US embassy in Cairo have delayed the efforts in this regard.

Morsy called on expatriate Egyptians to help the government and to invest in Egypt.

"A fund for supporting the Egyptian economy in certain fields as education, health and handicapped will be announced," he said.

The president said Egypt's stability will reflect on Egyptians living abroad. "It will boost their status in their host countries."

Referring to anti-corruption efforts, Morsy said several measures have been taken over the past period to fight corruption.

Turning to Sinai, President Morsy said the Peninsula is an Egyptian territory.

"Sinai is our responsibility and our land and we are responsible for its security," he stressed.

The Egyptian leader dismissed concerns about taking part of Sinai to settle the Palestinians.

"I tell the world that I open the crossings to allow food, medicine for the Gazans," he said.

Speaking about Syria, the Egyptian leader rejected any military intervention in the country. "The solution is to pile more pressures until the regime there vanishes," he said.

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