OPINION

Looking toward the future in Egypt

The Egyptian people have spoken, demanding to break away with the past and embrace the future. It is safe to say that the events that took place in Egypt since January 25 rarely occur in world history, let alone Egypt?s modern history. That is why these events will shape our political, social and economic discourse for years to come. As such, this article is an attempt to shed some light on the significant developments still unfolding in Egypt.

The birth of the revolution was a thorny one, with hundreds of deaths and injuries, and public and private property vandalized. One of the regrettable events was attacks against Egyptian and foreign journalists covering the news during the first few days of the revolution. In this regard, I would like to express my sympathy with the Greek journalists assailed by some thugs in Cairo; the same thugs who also attacked the peaceful demonstrators in Tahrir Square. These deplorable events are now under investigation, pending to bring the culprits to justice.

In contrast, millions of Egyptians now are looking to a brighter future, as the revolution has provided Egypt with an unprecedented opportunity to rebuild the country on a solid and democratic basis, where political freedoms and economic and social benefits can be fairly shared. Egyptians are now invited to pull their heads together to plan for themselves the kind of future they aspire to. As the revolution was 100 percent Egyptian, so too will be our future. As there were no foreign issues, sectarian or ethnic slogans shaping the revolution, so will be our future. Because Egyptians, from all walks of society, have the same objective; that is to create a democratic and pluralistic political system that would ensure political freedoms, economic prosperity and social justice.

Egypt?s revolution had far-reaching ramifications that went far beyond its borders. While we understand and appreciate the world?s reaction toward the revolution, given Egypt?s size, history, geographical position and role both regionally and internationally, there is a very fine line between expressing concern and support toward the revolution and its objectives on one hand, and interference on the other hand. There is no doubt that this fine line should be preserved. Egypt needs the time and policy space to get its house in order and plan its future on the short, medium and long terms. The transitory phase — expected to last six months until parliamentary and presidential elections take place — is decisive to the future of the country. That is why we are currently moving gradually but surely toward that end. The Supreme Council of the Egyptian Armed Forces — in control until the elections — has already taken a series of positive steps domestically and internationally. The most significant of which, is the constitutional amendments currently being debated by a committee of independent legal experts, and soon to be presented in a public referendum. These amendments are aimed at ensuring free and fair elections, as well as limiting the president?s powers and terms in office, and guaranteeing a balance of power among the executive, legislative and judicial authorities. This phase will also see a coalition government that represents various political parties and groups, in order to ensure a fair representation of the nation?s political spectrum and to inject new blood into Egypt?s political life.

At the international level, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces has also reaffirmed the country?s commitment to all regional and international treaties, and agreements to which Egypt is a signatory, stressing that Egypt will continue to fulfill its obligations in this regard. The international community is invited to cooperate and coordinate with us in identifying the appropriate ways and means to provide assistance to Egypt. As a long-standing friend and partner of Egypt for many years, Greece is invited to play a constructive role in supporting and understanding the current situation in Egypt at this significant juncture of its history, particularly through working together to strengthen our bilateral relations, as well as through Greece?s positive positions within the current EU discussions and initiatives in this context.

In conclusion, Egypt has to tackle many difficult issues on the political, economic and social levels. The main task at hand is to move according to the transitional arrangements and timetable in order to re-launch the country on a democratic and solid ground that ensures a better future for the Egyptian people; a future that was well earned and deserved.

*Tarek Adel is the Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt to Greece.