Egypt’s leading Salafi movement on Sunday clarified the party's stance on diplomatic relations with Israel, saying that it would oppose an improvement in ties between the two countries.
"We will stand firmly against normalization [of ties] between the two countries in a variety of forms, and against any entity that wants to harm Egypt's identity," the movement announced in a written statement quoted by Army Radio.
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Salafis represent a fundamentalist religious stream that seeks to create an Islamic state according to strict social codes and a legal system based entirely on Islamic law. The various Salafi parties have thus far been the biggest surprise of the Egyptian parliamentary elections, taking about 30 percent of votes to place second after the Muslim Brotherhood which garnered around 40%.
The announcement came a week after a spokesman for the group gave an interview to Army Radio, during which he said "the peace agreement with Israel will not be canceled."
Nour Party spokesman Yusri Hammad said during the unprecedented
interview "we are not against the agreement but we say that Egypt is
committed to the agreements signed by the previous governments."
“If there are some clauses that the people of Egypt want to change in
the agreements, then these belong on the negotiating table,” he said.
“We respect all treaties.”
The head of the Salafi movement last Tuesday also spoke about the peace treaty issue and said that the party would respect
Cairo’s 1979 peace treaty with Israel.
Representatives of the party
quickly backtracked, however, saying the matter was still being looked
“Treaties Egypt has signed must be upheld – we intend to respect
them,” Nour party chairman Emad Abdel Ghaffour told a press conference in Cairo,
adding though that Israel has not implemented certain clauses in the agreement
regarding the Palestinians.
These include “a solution to the Palestinian
issue, their right to self-determination, self-governance and the creation of a
Palestinian state on Palestinian land,” Abdel Ghaffour said.Oren Kessler contributed to this report.