Egypt's president-elect to sue Iranian news agency

Islamist President-elect Mohamed Mursi began talks with groups nervous about where he will take Egypt.

June 27, 2012 23:06
2 minute read.
Mohamed Morsy gives victory speech on Egyptian TV

Morsy victory speech 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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CAIRO - The office of Egyptian president-elect Mohamed Mursi will file a lawsuit against the Iranian news agency Fars for making up an interview with him which said he promised to improve ties between the two countries, Mursi's spokesman said on Wednesday.

"President Mursi was never interviewed by Iran's Fars news agency. The interview was fabricated and his presidential office has begun taking legal action against the news agency," Yasser Ali told Reuters.

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Iran has hailed Mursi's victory over former air force commander Ahmed Shafik in Egypt's first free presidential election as a "splendid vision of democracy" that marked the country's "Islamic Awakening".

Since Egypt's Hosni Mubarak was toppled in one of those uprisings, both Cairo and Tehran have signaled interest in renewing ties severed more than 30 years ago.

Mursi, however, is striving to reassure Egypt's Western allies wary at the prospect of Islamist rule, and Gulf states that are deeply suspicious of Iranian influence, and is unlikely to stage major foreign policy reversals so soon after taking office.

Meanwhile, Islamist President-elect Mohamed Mursi began talks on Wednesday with groups nervous about where he will take Egypt after the generals who have ruled since Hosni Mubarak's fall make way for the republic's first civilian leader.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Mursi to bring diverse groups into his government, mentioning Egypt's Coptic Christian minority, secular-minded Egyptians and young people.

The US State Department played down reports that Clinton might visit Cairo this weekend, saying that she was unlikely to visit Egypt during her current trip to Europe, which is due to end on Saturday in Geneva.

Speaking at a news conference in Helsinki, Clinton stressed the importance of developing democratic institutions, including countervailing forces such as an independent judiciary and a free press.

"We hope that full democracy is understood to be more than an election," she said. "One election does not a democracy make.

"That's just the beginning of the hard work and the hard work requires pluralism, respecting the rights of minorities, independent judiciary (and) independent media..." Clinton said.

Clinton promised support for a democratic transition in Egypt, a firm US ally and a recipient of billions of dollars in US aid since it signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979.

"We've heard some very positive statements thus far including about respecting international obligations, which would in our view cover the peace treaty with Israel, but we have to wait and judge by what is actually done," she said.

Mursi, 60, a US-trained engineer and Muslim Brotherhood insider, is expect to take his oath on Saturday, but it is uncertain where he will do so.

Parliament is the normal venue, but the constitutional court dissolved the Islamist-led lower house this month in a clear attempt to roll back the Brotherhood's electoral successes since Mubarak's overthrow in a burst of popular anger 16 months ago.

According to a government source quoted by state-run al-Ahram newspaper, the same court will swear in Mursi, but this may be unpalatable to the man who defeated a former pro-Mubarak air force chief in a run-off for the presidency this month.

The office of Egypt's president-elect Mursi said details on the swearing in ceremony would be released on Thursday.

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