News / Middle East

    Egypt Elections: Amr Moussa Makes His Case

    Egyptian presidential candidate Amr Moussa, center, attends a news conference in Cairo, May 16, 2012.Egyptian presidential candidate Amr Moussa, center, attends a news conference in Cairo, May 16, 2012.
    x
    Egyptian presidential candidate Amr Moussa, center, attends a news conference in Cairo, May 16, 2012.
    Egyptian presidential candidate Amr Moussa, center, attends a news conference in Cairo, May 16, 2012.
    Mohamed Elshinnawi
    Amr Mohamed Moussa is an Egyptian politician and diplomat who served as Secretary-General of the Arab League from 2001 until 2011. Prior to that, he served ten years as Egypt’s minister of foreign affairs. He is viewed as a top contender for the presidency in Egyptian elections later this month; his prior experience under Hosni Mubarak is seen as both a strength and a political liability. (You can listen to the full podcast in Arabic here.)

    Elshinnawi: If you are elected president, what priorities will you set for your first 100 days in office?

    Amr Moussa: The first priority will be to restore security and thus end the fear facing Egyptian families today. To do that, we will need to invite the police force back and rehabilitate police stations so that the force could resume its role with a clear mandate from the president to serve the population, not to suppress or oppress it. All police officers who have either quit or are staying home would be recalled back into service.

    The second priority would be to resume services to citizens and provide relief from shortages of fuel and natural gas. Then, I would set up presidential workshops to discuss with experts major issues such as education, healthcare, housing, agriculture, industry, services, et cetera, and call on them to produce lists of recommendations for tacking all of these issues.

    Over the next 100 days, once these recommendations are turned into plans and resolutions, I would establish councils to plan and execute these recommendations – including a national security council, a socio-economic council, a council for arts and cultural affairs and a special council to address people with special needs.

    Elshinnawi: Social justice is a major goal of the Egyptian revolution, but it requires huge resources to achieve. How would you deal with that challenge?

    Amr Moussa: Social justice is a must at this stage, especially because at least 50 percent of the population is living at or around the poverty line. I would double the tax relief limit to help these people. At the same time, I would introduce progressive taxation to ensure justice in handling tax burdens. As for unemployment, I will offer unemployment compensation of 50 percent of the set minimum income, provided that the unemployed go through a rehabilitation process to acquire needed skills in the labor market.

    On top of all that, I have a plan for grand projects, such as developing the Suez Canal area by transforming it into an integrated industrial, agricultural, commercial, maritime and free trade zone project. That way, it would become a magnet for investments. I have similar development plans for Sinai, west of the Nile, and the northwest coast to restore huge wheat production after clearing the mines fields in that area, which is underway right now.

    Egyptian, Arab, and foreign investments would flow because all of these projects are concrete, feasible and viable. I would also initiate a national program for small- and medium-sized industries and provide small loans to encourage entrepreneurs. Also, I would establish a new bank to finance agricultural production and reconsider the prices of crops to help farmers.

    Elshinnawi: Would you maintain the army's economy as it has been running so far, that is, apart from the general budget?

    Amr Moussa: That issue should not concern people, because the ruling power will be transferred from the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to the elected president. Then, the armed forces, whether their leadership or the rank and file, would take care of their own affairs. I would caution that we should deal with these issues wisely, as we are creating a new democratic state with a National Security Council that would discuss such details.

    Elshinnawi: What role do you envision for Egyptian expatriates in rebuilding Egypt?

    Amr Moussa: We have to deal with expatriates as Egyptian communities that are actually living abroad with a second, and sometimes a third, generation – in the U.S., Australia, Canada, Europe, and even in Africa.

    On our side, the state should take care of their cultural and religious needs and open up investment opportunities to the expatriates. By doing so, we create a permanent common interest. I intend to establish a special ministry for Egyptian expatriates to coordinate their affairs with other ministries, such as education, culture, and the foreign ministry to take on a brand new approach to our expatriates around the world.

    Elshinnawi: How can you restore the regional role and prestige to Egypt after 30 years of retreat?

    Amr Moussa: The retreat happened especially in the past ten years. Egypt itself has contributed in that retreat by closing its doors and avoiding getting engaged in any troubles. That was a wrong policy. In order to restore its foreign role Egypt has to reform its domestic role as well. When others, such as Arabs, Africans and Europeans, feel that the ruling regime in Egypt is serious about rebuilding Egypt, then Egypt will restore its foreign strength.

    Elshinnawi: Some presidential candidates have pledged to reconsider the Camp David accords or renegotiate some of their articles. What are your thoughts?

    Amr Moussa: Anyone who commits himself to reconsidering Camp David Accords does not understand the facts. There is nothing to renegotiate because, as a document, it fulfilled its role and it is no longer controlling either relations or the Middle East peace process. Quite the opposite, it has been replaced by the Arab League peace initiative and other bilateral agreements. The only portion of that treaty that I would want to reconsider is some of the security appendixes which, in fact, ties Egypt’s hands when it comes to securing the Sinai Peninsula.

    Elshinnawi: U.S.-Egyptian relations are considered important to both countries. During Mubarak’s era, their relationship entailed strategic cooperation. How do you see Egypt’s future relationship with the U.S.?

    Amr Moussa: Our U.S.-Egyptian relations will not be about strategic cooperation, but rather about bilateral cooperation, with consultations over regional issues. It is in our national interest that our relationship with the U.S. be good and positive. It is in our national interest not to fall into a superficial trap and judge our relations on negative populist feelings because of the U.S. position toward the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. That should not be everything.

    I call for a solid relationship with the U.S. that would allow us to ask for modifications of the U.S. stance and reformulation of its positions in a way that could help achieve a just peace in the Middle East.

    Check Mohamed Elshinnawi's interview with another presidential hopeful, Abdul Moneim Aboul Fotouh.

    You May Like

    California Republicans Mull Choices in Presidential Race

    Ted Cruz tells state's Republican Convention delegates campaign will be 'battle on the ground, district by district by district,' ahead of June 7 primary

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, many Kurds are trying to escape turmoil by focusing on success of football team Amedspor

    South African Company Designs Unique Solar Cooker

    Two-man team of solar power technologists introduces Sol4, hot plate that heats up so fast it’s like cooking with gas or electricity

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora