Egyptian Ambassador to Japan: Egyptians Seek a Secular and Democratic State

Saturday, September 28, 2013

By Mayako Shibata

Tokyo - (PanOrient News) Egypt is on the right path for democratization and the will of the people shall prevail, Egyptian Ambassador to Japan Mr. Hisham El-Zimaity said.

Referring to US president Obama's statement made at the 68th United Nations' General Assembly a few hours earlier, Ambassador El-Zimaity told an audience of Japanese journalists and Middle East experts that President Obama mentioned that former President "Morsi was democratically elected but proved unwilling or unable to govern in a way that was fully inclusive". And that "the interim government that replaced him responded to the desires of millions of Egyptians who believed the revolution had taken a wrong turn".

Adding that the United States will maintain a constructive relationship with the interim government that promotes core interests like respecting the Camp David Accords and cooperating in counterterrorism, and that it will also continue its support in areas like education that directly
benefit the Egyptian people, as well as encourage respect for minority rights, the rule of law, freedom of speech, right to assembly, and a strong civil society. El-Zimaity added that this is what the interim government is trying to build based on the people's will.

The briefing on the current situation and democratization of process in Egypt was held at the Foreign Press Centre in Tokyo on September 25th.

On 23rd September, an Egyptian court ruled to ban the
activities of the Muslim Brotherhood organization, its non-governmental association, all the activities it participates in, and any organization derived from it, El-Zimaity said adding that an independent committee shall be formed by the Cabinet to manage its finances.

Explaining their verdict, the court issued a broad denunciation of the Brotherhood. It said that since its founding, this secretive group used Islam as "a cover for activities that violate Islam and its rulings. It violated the rights of citizens." The court added that while former President Morsi was in power, "citizens lost their basic rights for social justice and security" and that under it
"Egyptians found only repression and arrogance."

The Egyptian Ambassador stressed that this was the right time for countries that are friends of Egypt to review their earlier stances vis a vis his country, and to pragmatically re-assess their decade-long policies and their unconditional support of the so-called "moderate Islamists".

In response to a question on the kind of democracy Egypt is seeking, Mr. El-Zimaity made it clear that the Egyptian people have experienced 'democratic life' since the first parliament was convened in 1866, adding that the Egyptian people want a 21st century state where all citizens are equal.

"Egypt is not going to become a theocracy. Its People want a modern, democratic, tolerant and secular state", El-Zimaity said adding that Egypt had witnessed terrorism before and vanquished it, and that the people have the courage to face it again to safeguard its future. Law shall be applied on all those who committed crimes of terrorism and violence. As Egypt moves forward, it looks out for its friends' support.

Egyptians are restoring their democracy based on tolerance, not violence, Ambassador El-Zimaity affirmed.

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