Aswat Masriya (Cairo)

21 August 2013

Egypt: No Civil War, Elections Expected Within 9 Months - PM

Egyptian interim Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi said on Tuesday that he did not fear that a civil war would erupt in the country, adding that Egypt will have "some continuous problems in the coming weeks and perhaps coming months."

"Egypt is not on the same path to civil war that we have seen in some neighboring countries," Beblawi said in an interview the American network ABC News.

In his first interview since he assumed office in July, the interim prime minister warned that any decision by Washington to cut military aid to Egypt "will be a bad sign and will badly affect the military for some time."

He added that Egypt's army could survive without the $1.3 billion in military aid from the United States as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait have pledged billions of dollars in aid to the new Egyptian government in recent weeks.

Beblawi expressed sorrow that there is a "kind of misunderstanding between the U.S. and Egypt," saying that Egypt needs the U.S. as much as the U.S. needs Egypt.

When asked about the crackdown on the protest camps that were supporting deposed Islamist President Mohamed Mursi, Beblawi said they were not peaceful sit-ins.

He added that the authorities had "announced in loud speakers asking people to come peacefully out and there are some exit for them, no one would be held responsible," stressing that security forces tried everything.

Beblawi said the interim government is committed to " true democratic government," adding, "We are very keen to end this transitional period. I definitely think that we're talking about between six and nine months we will have elections."

Regarding the government's decision to ban the Muslim Brotherhood, he said, "I personally think everyone in the Muslim Brotherhood and other civil societies have the right to be there. We must have transparency."

About the possible release of toppled President Hosni Mubarak and his acquittal from corruption charges, the interim minister said that Mubarak is under the control of the legal system.

He added, "Whatever the judge decides, we will accept the outcome. It's not whether I like it or not. I want everyone to have a fair chance at a trial."

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