By Nourhan Dakroury
Interim vice-president Mohamed ElBaradei said in an interview on Al-Hayah TV channel on Saturday that the long term solution for the current crisis is achieving a national consensus.
“It is impossible to have a solution that relies on exclusion, but if there are real crimes committed, there has to be punishment,” ElBaradei said in the interview.
He said it is crucial at this moment to implement the law and for everyone to reject violence so that people can feel safe.
ElBaradei said the rejection and reduction of violence within the coming 48 hours was going to be the highlight of his meeting with Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and European Union Special Representative for the Southern Mediterranean Region Bernardino Leon on Saturday.
He said he wishes to see representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Nour Party and all political factions in the 50-member constituent assembly, which will review the constitution after the Legal Experts Committee finishes amending it.
ElBaradei said it is not true that he does not agree on the participation of the Freedom and Justice Party and Al-Nour in the political scene, but they need to “remain in a constitutional and legal frame”, meaning that “they should not talk in the name of God or in the name of religion,” and that religion and state affairs should remain separate.
“I totally disagree with them ideologically, but I am totally defending their right in being part of political work and part of the Egyptian community on grounds of the constitution,” he explained.
ElBaradei denied what has been circulating by some media outlets that he would resign if the Rabaa Al-Adaweya sit-in is forcefully dispersed as well as his proposal to release former president Mohamed Morsi to put an end to the sit-in.
He said the decision to disperse the sit-in has political as well as security ramifications, adding that all peaceful means should be used first before resorting to force.
“There’s a [unanimous] agreement that the government has to protect the people and that the state cannot lose control of what happens in it,” he said.
ElBaradei said Defence Minister Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi’s call for demonstrations on 26 July was mainly meant to shed the light on the fact that the majority of the people support the removal of former president Morsi.
“My mission together with General Al-Sisi extends far beyond the current crisis,” ElBaradei said, adding that the main problem that should be worked on is poverty and ignorance.
“Extremism would disappear when we socially and economically rebuild Egypt,” he said.
ElBaradei said he is not interested in running for president in the future.
“I believe that the time has come for authority to be passed onto the newer generation,” he said, explaining that he is willing to support and “coach” them.
ElBaradei also talked about his plans after a consensus is met.
He said the priority goes to visiting Ethiopia to look into the conflict around Egypt’s share in the Nile water and how it will be affected by the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.
He added that he is also keen on restoring relationships with the Gulf countries.
He concluded that the National Salvation Front should keep working since the “major battle ahead is the constitution and the parliamentary elections.”