will develop its ties with Hezbollah, recognizing it as a “real
political and military force,” said an Egyptian official to
Lebanese press. The announcement signals a U-turn in policy where
Egypt had accused the group of operating terror cells.
an interview with Lebanese publication the Daily Star, Egyptian
ambassador to Lebanon Ashraf Hamdy said that his country’s
newly-elected Islamist government would build “tight” relations
stated that the ruling Muslim Brotherhood was “stretching out its
hand” to its neighbors with a view to developing its foreign policy
and furthering interests.
cannot discuss politics in Lebanon without having a relationship with
Hezbollah. It is a real force on the ground. It has a big political
and military influence in Lebanon,” Hamdy
stressed to the Daily Star.
went on to deny reports that a delegation from the political group
had already visited Egypt for negotiations, but conceded that he had
met with Hezbollah political bureau members for discussions “to
understand each other better.”
on Hezbollah’s open support for embattled Syrian President Bashar
Assad, Hamdy emphasized the need to “keep
all the parties in Lebanon away from what is happening in Syria. Not
has been increasingly drawn into neighboring Syria’s spiraling
conflict with sectarian tensions running high in the country, rival
factions supporting both Assad and the opposition clashing in violent
relations with Hezbollah were strained during ex-President Hosni
Mubarak’s reign. The worsening in relations can mainly be
attributed to Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel and Egypt’s
refusal to intervene to support Gaza-based Palestinians during
Israel’s 2008 incursion into Gaza.
was ousted in last year’s uprising that was intended to usher in a
new era of democracy in Egypt.
turmoil barrier to progress
said that recently Egypt’s internal conflicts had impeded the
progress of Muslim Brotherhood’s foreign policy ambitions and
stressed that progress would perhaps take longer than initially
expect 180-degree shifts in strong positions take some time. Due to
what is happening domestically in Egypt, it might have meant that we
have been a bit slower than expected,” noted
Hamdy. However, he stated that Egypt’s“intrinsic
soft power” in
the region would be instrumental in mediation with antagonistic
forces in the region.
will reveal itself as a real regional power and a ‘doer’ on the
regional scene and we are keen to show that,”concluded
ambassador’s interview came just a day after Egypt’s bitterly
contested new constitution was signed into law by President Mohamed
Morsi on Thursday. The new charter which is based on the principals
of Sharia law had effectively divided the Egyptian public, triggering
mass riots in Cairo and Alexandria over the last two weeks of voting.
forces to the new legislation say that the document is uncompromising
and rounds on the rights of minority groups in Egypt.
two rounds of voting were dogged with opposition allegations of
widespread voting fraud. The accusations have yet to be addressed and
Morsi maintained in his speech to the public on Thursday that the
referendum was conducted with "full
transparency and full judicial supervision."