Egypt’s President Morsi leaves for Saudi on 1st foreign trip
Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood has said his administration has no plans to ‘export’ Egypt’srevolution, an implicit reassurance to Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies, who have been nervous over the possibility of Arab Spring revolts reaching their shores.
He has also asserted his country’s commitment to the security of Saudi Arabia and its Gulf Arab allies, a thinly veiled reference to the tension between them and Iran.
Morsi was scheduled to meet with Saudi King Abdullah later Wednesday.
Thousands of Brotherhood members sought refuge in Saudi Arabia in the 1950s and 1960s to escape crackdowns by Gamal Abdel-Nasser, Egypt’s ruler at the time. But Saudi Arabia’s own problems with violent Islamist groups have cooled its ties with groups espousing political Islam, like the Brotherhood.
Some 1.6 million Egyptians live and work in Saudi Arabia, which is also one of the biggest investors in Egypt….
Egyptian media reports have repeatedly claimed that the Saudis were unhappy with the arrest and trial of their ally and friend Mubarak, and that they offered to host him in Saudi Arabia after his ouster. Saudi officials have consistently denied these reports.
Morsi left for Saudi Arabia while in the middle of a showdown with the generals who ruled Egypt for 16 months after Mubarak’s ouster and who formally handed power over to him on June 30.
Shortly before his departure, Morsi’s office said in a statement that the president was committed to uphold court rulings — an attempt to ease tensions with the military and the judiciary over the fate of the country’s dissolved parliament.
The statement came one day after the Supreme Constitutional Court ruled against Morsi’s decree to call the house into session despite a June 14 ruling by the same tribunal that the legislature was invalid because a third of its members were elected illegally.
The military dissolved the parliament the next day.
Morsi’s decree heightened tensions with the powerful generals, who retained far-reaching powers and stripped Morsi of many of his before they stepped down…
In a rare media appearance, Major General Mohammad Assar, a member of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), threatened to declare the presidential position vacant,
USA had urged dialogue to end the row, consequently, Morsi said he wanted talks with the judiciary and political powers to defuse a crisis… Mohamed Mursi’s statement appeared to be a call for a truce to prevent the crisis, less than two weeks into his presidency, from boiling over into open confrontation with the military council or the judges in his battle to wrest power…
According to his statement, Mursi said he was “committed to the rulings of Egyptian judges and very keen to manage state powers and prevent any confrontation”….
Leftist Hamdeen Sabahy, a losing presidential contender, had urged Mursi to respect the constitutional court ruling to help “exit the current crisis” but also called for legislative authority to be passed from the army to a separate body…
The SCAF consists of generals appointed by Mubarak, as was the head of the constitutional court which annulled parliament because it found that certain articles of the law governing its election invalid.
Critics said the decision was politically motivated.
“The constitutional court whose judges were appointed by Mubarak has cancelled the president’s decree and restored the field marshal’s decree,” wrote prominent commentator Alaa al-Aswany, referring to SCAF head Hussein Tantawi.
“The message is clear, the elected president is not to exercise power without the military,” he said. But others were critical of Mursi’s defiance of the judiciary, despite it effectively being a tool of the SCAF.
“The constitutional court returns the slap to the president,” wrote the liberal Al-Wafd, mouthpiece for the Wafd party, whose MPs boycotted Tuesday’s parliamentary session….