Shafiq wants to contest presidential elections against Abdel Fattah el-Sisi
In daylight interference in other’s affairs, former Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq is facing uncertain future as UAE officials have prevented him from leaving the country for meeting Egyptian expatriates. Shafiq desires to contest forthcoming presidential election against sitting President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, witnessed contradictory remarks on the issue on Thursday. UAE’s Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash said there was “no obstacle” to Shfiq’s departure from the UAE.
On Wednesday, former Egyptian PM Shafiq had claimed that he was prevented from leaving the UAE after he announced his intention of contesting the presidential elections to be held sometime next year.
Recently Lebanese PM Sa’ad Hariri was invited without any pre-scheduled visit to Saudi Arabia, where he suddenly announced his resignation alleging Iran for interfering in his country’s affairs and Hezbollah for its extra territorial role in the region. He expressed fear of a plot to assassinate him. Later he travelled to UAE to meet Crown PrinceMohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan. Finally, he travelled to Paris before returning to Beirut.
Former Egyptian PM Ahmed Shafiq said, on Wednesday, in an exclusive video message to Aljazeera, “I reject any intervention in Egypt’s affairs by preventing me from participating in a constitutional right and a holy mission to serve my country. I call on the UAE leaders to order the lifting of any restrictions on my ability to travel,” he said.
Reacting to Shafiq’s video message broadcast on Qatar based Aljazeera, UAE foreign minister Anwar Gargash hit back with a tweet message saying it was “lack of gratitude”.
He said, “(Shafiq) took refuge in the UAE and ran away from Egypt after the results of the 2012 presidential election. We presented him with every facility and generous hospitality despite our severe reservations about some of his positions.”
After taking refuge in UAE, Shafiq was placed on trial in absentia in Egypt and found guilty of corruption charges. However, he was later acquitted.
Observers believe that Saudi Arabia and UAE are among the staunch supporters of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and both have interest in Sisi continuing. They suspect that Sisi was behind the UAE’s move to prevent Ahmed Shafiq’s outbound travel.
Ahmed Shafiq was country’s PM for just over a month in 2011 during Arab Spring uprising, leading to the fall of Hosni Mubarak regime. Thereafter, Mohammed Morsi of Muslim Brotherhood was elected as President who was removed in 2013 in a coup led by Sisi, then Egypt’s defence minister, but Shafiq remained in the UAE.