Former US President Jimmy Carter said Thursday, after meeting Egypt's military rulers and political parties, that he expected Egypt's new government to focus more than the previous leadership on Palestinian rights as highlighted under the 1979 peace accords.

"This new government will probably be much more concerned about the rights of the Palestinians than have the previous rulers or leaders in Egypt, but in my opinion that will be conducive to a better prospect of peace between Israel and its neighbors," he said.

Carter's views on Egypt carry extra weight, among both the Egyptian and the international community, due to his role in the 1978 Camp David accords cementing peace between Egypt and Israel.

Carter, 87, is in Cairo with a group from his human rights organization, the Carter Center, to help monitor the end of the final round of Egypt's first parliamentary elections since Mubarak was ousted.

He said the army was unlikely to surrender all of its powers by mid-2012, highlighting the potential for further power struggles.

The military council, in power since an uprising ousted President Hosni Mubarak in February, has faced mounting public anger over what is widely viewed as stalling and mismanagement of the transition period.

Dozens of protesters demanding an end to army rule have been killed in bouts of violence in the past 11 months.


"I think to have an abrupt change in the totality of the military authority at the end of June or this year is more than we can expect," Carter told Reuters in an interview.

"A clear message has to go out that in the future for Egypt, whenever that time comes, there will be complete civilian control over all aspects of the government affairs and the military will play its role under the direction of an elected president and an elected parliament."

"My guess is that the military would like to retain as much control as possible for as long as possible, still accepting the results of the revolution and the election," he said.

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate said he met with Egyptian political parties, including the Muslim Brotherhood, leading in the parliamentary vote, who also foresaw the military rulers holding on to power beyond the scheduled June date.

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