Mubarak says regional conditions are dire
Egypt-Regional, Politics, 7/28/2005
Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak gave a speech, reported today, at Al-Masa'ee al-Mashkoura school in Shibeen el Kom. The speech comes after a series of explosions hit a resort site in Egypt and at a time Mubarak is expected to announce his nomination to run again for presidency.
Mubarak spoke about a dangerous situation facing the Arab states, from Iraq and Palestine issues, to issues of terrorism.
Mubarak said "I experienced at my home, my school, and the mosque of Kafr Moselha the spirit of true and tolerant Islam, deepening within me conviction of the importance of national unity between Egyptian Muslims and Copts and that religion is for God and the nation for all." Here follows is his full speech:
I speak to you today from Al-Masa'ee al-Mashkoura school in the Monoufia Governorate where I completed my high school education.
I spent speak to you after a short visit to Quowesna where 1 made a stop at the emergency hospital and was informed about the renovations made to the Central Hospital.
I was delighted to see proof of tile attention we devote to upgrading our educational and healthcare system.
I was especially pleased to see these real-life examples occurring in the Egyptian countryside and serving its people, proof of our dedication to promoting our rural communities and upgrading the services and infrastructure available to both Upper ant Lower Egyptian governorates.
This includes our program that aims at gradually finalizing the planning zones for our villages so as to absorb the population increase in a way that strikes balance between meeting the citizen's demand and right to housing, while protecting our wealth of agricultural land.
The great satisfaction I felt with what I saw today is, however, marred by a deep preoccupation with the future status of the Arab region, the critical phase that it is passing through, and the worrisome development it witnesses.
Namely; the recent developments on the Palestinian level the situation in Iraq and the many challenges that might drive the region to dangerous paths.
There exists now an urgent need to formulate common Arab vision with regards to these developments and their ramifications upon the causes and supreme interests of our Arab states and peoples.
With this is mind, and in the framework of consultations and coordination with our brotherly Arab leaders and the contacts made by the Arab League, I hereby call for a convening of an extraordinary Arab summit, suggest to convene it in Sharm El Sheikh on Wednesday 3rd of August and that it be preceded by a meeting of Arab Foreign Ministers on the day before, to consider a report by the Secretary General on the current situation in the region and the Consultation of a common Arab stance towards the dangers and challenges facing our nation.
I am fully confident that this coming extraordinary summit will be capable of crystallizing a strong Arab position that reflects the determination of the Arab states and peoples to overcome the current challenges, and to achieve peace and stability that all Arabs long for.
Brothers and Sisters,
While on my way down here, I recalled the memories of Kafr Moselha and my first steps on a long and difficult road.
Kafr Moselha was, at the beginning of the 20th century, a rare example of an Egyptian village that challenged illiteracy and prevailed, to such an extent that the people of Al-Menoufia took to calling it Kafr Paris.
Joint efforts from the village's high and middle classes were combined to provide education for its lower income population, until no one was left illiterate.
This was achieved at a time in our contemporary history that witnessed the marginalization of the overwhelming majority of the Egyptian people in the villages of both Upper and Lower Egypt, and their ensuing deprivation of healthcare and educational services.
When I joined the Al-Masa'ee al mashkoura high school in Shibeen el Kom to complete my education, I experienced another example of solidarity: the active contribution of the Egyptian civil society and its NGOs.
The Al-Masa'ee al mashkoura Society as the pioneer of all Non-governmental Organization in Egypt created by the principal landowners of Al-Menoufia in 1892, opening its high school the fifth high school established in Egypt- in Shibeen el Kom ill 1904.
The Society has since established elementary schools in all the cities in Al- Al-Menoufia amongst them the first elementary school for girls in the governorate, preceded in Egypt only by the Al Saneya girls' school in Cairo.
This leading NGO was built through efforts and contributions from a number of honest and loyal Egyptians such Abdel-Aziz Fahmy, Mahmoud Abou Hussein, Ahmed Abdel-Ghafaar, Mohamed Elwy El-Gazar, and Abdel-Aziz Habib.
Its activities were met by the needs of a society hungry for science and education, both of which had only ever been accessible to a limited circle of affluent citizens.
I reminisced today about memories of El-Sheikh Ga'far Quran school; the mosque of Abdel Aziz Fahmy; the view of the fields at the time of the cotton harvest and the three kilometer journey that I used to traverse in order to reach this reputable school where we meet today.
Many things have changed Quowesna and Shibeen el Kom and the roads leading to it.
The narrow alleys have been transformed into wide streets, and the sandy, beaten paths have been replaced by a modern network of developed roads.
Electrical power, water sewage telephone lines, healthcare and educational services have become indispensable necessities and lead to legitimate aspirations for more.
I recall all this and more, I remember where we have been, and see where we have come and for that I thank God.
What I saw today is an example of many other accomplishments that we have achieved, in hamlets in villages, towns and cities, all over the different governorates of Egypt.
I recall the long journey we have made together and the countless accomplishments we have achieved.
With this in mind, I take more pride in our present and greater certainty in our future.
I am filled with a stronger belief in our ability to create a brighter future for our children and our grand children.
I am more convinced of the significance of the role that civil society and NGO's can play as partners in building this future; a role that we urgently need in our society today.
A role that is guided and inspired by those great figures of Egypt who have contributed both physical effort and money, establishing their educational institutions in Al Menoufia 50 years before the first government school was established in this governorate.
Brothers and Sisters,
I owe much to this respectable school from where I speak to you today. I owe much to the early years of my childhood in Kafr Moselha.
I have upheld the principles and values that I learned here throughout my life.
I upheld them when I left to Cairo after attending high school. I upheld them, in my mind and in my heart, when I joined the Military Academy and the Air force Academy thereafter.
Throughout my service in the Armed Forces and the battles we fought, I have become as much a part of these principles and values as they have become a part of me.
I have upheld these scruples until, and since the moment I assumed political responsibility first as Vice President, then as the President of Egypt.
I have witnessed firsthand the Egyptian peasant's strong attachment to his hand and have borne in my heart deep conviction of its sanctity and the necessity of defending it, even if doing so requires sacrificing everything that is dear.
My admiration for the endeavors and activities of Al-Masa'ee al-Mashkoura society in serving the people of Al-Menoufia turned into a strong desire to contribute with a similar effort in serving Egyptians nationwide.
My love for Egypt was inspired by the history lessons taught in my old school; lessons I took while the country was still under foreign occupation.
From that moment on, I dreamt of Egypt ridding itself of the occupation once and of all and return to its old glory and the days of its renaissance and rich civilization.
I experienced at my home, my school, and the mosque of Kafr Moselha the spirit of true and tolerant Islam, deepening within me conviction of the importance of national unity between Egyptian Muslims and Copts and that religion is for God and the nation for all.
I have seen the Egyptian peasant wearing his blue galabeya, I have witnessed the El Qersh project to overcome the barefoot phenomenon, and through that have become dedicated to tackling the plight of the poor.
I was inspired by his perseverance and resilience, in cultivating his land through hot summers and cold winters, which instilled in me the values of persistence and determination.
I have learned in this school, and over the years, that our fate is in our hands find not in the hands of random chance and luck.
I have learned the crucial difference between trusting God and passivity.
These values and principles have guided me as I took my first steps with the Air Force at Areesh air base in 1950, in my study missions abroad, and during the battles of Suez in 1956, as well as during the war in Yemen.
They gave me strength and inspired in me a confidence in the future while I was commander of the Beni Suef air base at the time of the 1967 defeat.
They were with me when I was bomber wing commander as we delivered severe blows to the occupation forces in the passes of Sinai only forty days after the defeat.
They gave me solace and perseverance, when I was Director of the Air Force Academy, thereafter Chief of Staff of the Air Force, then commander of the Air Force during the period of rebuilding in preparation for the October War.
These principles strengthened my belief in God as I led the air strike that opened the door to the great victory of October.
These values were with me when the late President Sadat chose me as his deputy.
They never abandoned me nor did I abandon them when I was honored with the responsibility for this nation and for its sons after his assassination at the hands of terrorism, and through the critical junctures that we crossed together since his death.
I assumed this great responsibility with determination to bear its burdens before God with honor and integrity.
The oath that I swore upon assuming office was a pledge that I have kept in all of the decisions and positions I have taken.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We have passed together through difficult years, faced many challenges and accomplished many achievements.
We completed the liberation of Sinai, refused any compromise on Taba, and thus regained every inch of our national territory.
We waged, and continue to wage, a battle against terrorism and extremism, with threat they represent to the stability of our nation and the lives, livelihood and unity of our sons.
We restored our relations with the sisterly Arab countries, and the headquarters of the Arab League found its way back to Cairo. We forged ties of friendship and cooperation with all countries based on equality and mutual respect.
We preserved the peace and avoided being drawn into situations that could threaten it. We were not dragged into adventures that would jeopardize the lives and prosperity of this nation's sons.
We did not acquiesce to the policies of alliances or axes.
We refused any foreign presence on Egyptian soil.
In our relations with the nations of the world, and with the only remaining superpower, we were steadfast in preserving Egypt's sovereignty and independent national will.
We moved with confidence and determination in our support for the Palestinian cause, and in assuming Egypt's responsibilities and leading role in the region.
On the domestic front, our biggest challenge has been to completely rebuild our infrastructure; enhance the quality of our public services; and raise the living standards of our citizens; bolster the growth of our economy and provide job opportunities for our youth.
In all these areas, we have come a long way. Half of our foreign debt has been relieved, and a solid modern infrastructure has been established.
We are all aware of what we have collectively accomplished through the years.
More than nine million jobs were provided to our youth. Twenty-two new urban settlements were built comprising continuously growing industrial plants.
We now have fifty thousand kilometers of paved roads that connect and bring closer together Egypt's governorates, cities, and villages.
Our production of electricity increased seven times over the years.
Furthermore, we have devoted special attention to our Egyptian rural communities and to the services and amenities provided to its residents.
Advanced networks of electricity, water, communications, transportation and sewage were extended through all our villages and hamlets. More than six thousand primary care units, public; central; specialized; and emergency hospitals were established.
Vaccination campaigns continued, and by the end of this year we will be proud to announce our success in eradicating Polio in Egypt once and for all. We have stood fast in the face of the challenge of endemic diseases.
Belharsia infection, which has afflicted Egyptian peasants over thousands of years, was effectively combated, with a reduction from 40% to 1.9% of the population.
Cultivated land has been increased by 2 million reclaimed feddans. No longer is this land confined to the narrow Nile valley in the Delta region and Upper Egypt.
It has gradually been expanded to include new land in the Sinai, Toshka, and eastern Owainat.
On the education front, twenty million students were enlisted in pre-university and university education in more than 35,000 schools and more than 500 faculties and higher institutions.
The number of tourists that flock to Egypt yearly is now eight times the number it once was.
To show our deep and sincere concern for, responsibility towards people with limited income, we have maintained commodity, fuel and electric subsidies, so that prices of such goods remain within their reach.
We have expanded our social security network.
At this point in time, 52% of our population is covered by health insurance, more than 18 million citizens are covered by social insurance, and 9 million families are covered by pensions and the social security network.
We have accomplished all this and what is more, we have accomplished this over two decades that have witnessed a population increase of thirty million.
All this, we have experienced together, and all the while I have had a firm believe paths of political, economic, and social reform are inseparable.
I have always been convinced of the need fur political reform to continuously develop the institutional framework for our political system.
My conviction in this regard emanates from a vision that has constantly accompanied me since the first day I assumed office; a vision that foresaw a modern Egypt; free citizens in a democratic society; a society that expands the scope of liberties and enhances the participation of its citizen in political life; a society that builds a democracy the pillars and practice of which fire enhanced day after day.
We have succeeded in establishing the main pillars of a democratic system; institutional and legal frameworks that ensure the constitutional supervision through the Supreme Constitutional Court; that guarantee the independence of the judiciary and uphold the rule of law; enhance political pluralism and participation; protect civil rights and liberties; protect human rights; and open the way for a free press that enjoys the right to free expression for all political viewpoints in society..Brothers and Sisters,
Before God and the nation, and before you, I feel satisfied with all that we have accomplished together towards these goals. However, we should not loose sight of what remains before us to achieve.
We still have problems and challenges that demand greater efforts; poor citizens who need our help; youth who expect job opportunities; education that need further improvement. We need more schools, hospitals, and social services.
We need more reforms for our economic system, and our constitutional and legislative framework.
We still have before us many challenges and much hard work to be done, What compounds the critical nature of the coming phase are the worrying developments in our region and the ongoing unprecedented global transformations as well as the forces of terrorism that continue to threaten us.
We are approaching a new and critical phase, a decisive juncture in our contemporary history; a critical turning point in our national endeavor that presents fateful choices for the future; a choice between moving our journey forward, or halting its progress; a choice that affirms our progress towards completing our democracy or hindering it; a choice between enhancing the strength of Egypt and accelerating our steps towards the future or faltering through hesitation.
It will be for Egypt's people to make their decision on these choices during the upcoming Presidential and Parliamentary elections.
I am confident of the choice I favor. I choose a strong and democratic Egypt; an Egypt that strives towards the future with free Egyptians, I choose to cross a new threshold that is now before us and to complete the journey that our people started and continued through the last fifty years.
The political arena is currently saturated with a panoply of visions and promises what remains in this decisive period ahead is for the people to have their way, to choose the vision that fulfills their aspirations to their journey towards the future and to choose the person, whom they find most credible and able to lead such a journey.
The constitutional amendment of Article 76 has given this nation's sons and daughters the full opportunity to cast their votes in direct, competitive elections that will be free, fair and transparent when they head to the ballot boxes in a few weeks' time.
The law has established many guarantees and placed numerous checks that assure the freedom and fairness of the upcoming presidential elections.
It has delegated to the Supreme Presidential Elections Committee all the necessary powers to carry out its mission in supervising the election process, from the minute it opens the door to nominations, until the moment it announces the results.
As president of this country', I hereby promise before you that the state will respect these guarantees and provisions and will uphold them.
I promise that the upcoming elections will be competitive, free, and fair, with maximum transparency, offering equal opportunities to all the nominees.
Despite all the achievements we have accomplished, I realize that the mission I pledged to carry out has not yet been entirely completed, and that the journey we have taken together has yet one more stage, a stage that completes it and leads it towards its final destination, at a time ripe,with transformations, challenges and expectations.
With all my faith in the future of Egypt and its citizens, find by God's 'will and with His support, I am determined to be at the heart of this forthcoming period, and to seek the people's trust and mandate so that I might continue leading the nation through these transformations, challenges, and expectations.
It is neither position nor prestige that I seek; I am only driven by the values and principles that I have carried in my heart since my early days here in Menoufeya and through the half century that I've spent serving this country, never hesitating to take on and shoulder responsibilities, never late in answering the call of duty of my country.
I have embarked on a journey that I will not falter on before I complete, and a mission that I will not relent before I accomplish.
I declare before you, from here, from Al Menoufeya Governorate, that I intend on applying for nomination so that I might run for the office of president in this coming presidential election.
I will seek to win tile trust and support of the people for a new term.
I have shouldered my responsibilities in front of God and the nation with loyalty and dedication.
We have traveled far along this road to establish a modern and developed society. With my long years of experience in public service, I know the future I dream of for Egypt the vision that fulfills it and the road that leads us to it.
Years of experience have allowed me to understand fully the challenges we shall come to face within our society, in our region, and from the world around us.
I know that completing our democratic structure and strengthening the freedoms of the Egyptian people, will represent a major challenge in the coming stage.
I believe in a clear vision based on what we have accomplished, a practical viable vision that takes into consideration the troubles and burdens of the citizens a vision that offers the necessary options and solutions, leading us to a new tomorrow and a better future.
My vision for the future will be realized with steps that will conclude the development of our democracy.
This vision will be realized with yet further constitutional and legislative reforms, reforms based upon a strong foundation of public rights nod freedoms guaranteed by the constitution.
Our constitutional provisions have established a system of rights and freedoms guaranteed to all citizens according to the standards universally acknowledged in the international human rights instruments.
We will always adhere to this system.
Our constitutional provisions uphold the rule of law, equal rights and obligations for all respect for personal freedoms and the sanctity of private life.
These provisions have ensured religious freedom, freedom of expression, and other basic freedoms.
Amending article 76 of the constitution came to emphasize its preeminence to entrench the Republican system, to strengthen its pillars and to open new doors for further complementary constitutional and legislative reforms.
This amendment has taken us to the threshold of new stage, where we can implement these reforms according to a vision based upon principles stemming from a deep conviction of the necessities and requirements of this stage.
I spoke of these principles here in Menoufeya when I first requested the amendment earlier this year.
Now that I have announced my intention to apply for nomination and run for president in the coming elections, and should I gain the support and mandate of the people for a new term, I will work with the Parliament in order to adopt the constitutional and legislative amendments necessary for the realization of this vision with all the reforms it requires, within the context of a national dialogue that I call for and encourage.
These reforms will reshape the relationship between the legislative and executive authorities in a way that creates a greater balance between them and strengthens the parliament's role in ensuring oversight and accountability.
The reforms will also reinforce the cabinet's role, widen its mandate, and further the scope of government participation with the president in the duties of the executive authority.
These constitutional and Legislative reforms will provide the best electoral system which guarantees an increased chance for party representation in our representative councils, and will consolidate the presence and representation of women in parliament.
I aim to work on constitutional and legislative reforms that will bring about a new and enhanced concept for local administration; strengthening its powers and furthering decentralization.
I shall seek constitutional reforms that give us the right to choose the country's economic orientation, while simultaneously maintaining free economic activity, social justice, property rights in all its forms, and work rights.
I shall put forward constitutional reforms that will entail further checks on the powers of the President, under tile constitution during times of threat which endanger the safety of the nation or hinder its institutions from performing their constitutional functions.
The present and constant threats of terrorism require constitutional and legislative reforms that will enable the community to protect its children, its gains, and its future by the rule and decisiveness of law.
Thus far, we have had to work under the emergency law due to tragic circumstances that we are all aware of. The necessity for such a law has prevailed in light of the need to counter a terrorism that still besieges us, targets the souls of our citizens, terrifies our people and harms our national economy.
I renew my vow to you that the nation's security and the safety of its citizens will remain at the top of my priorities. Our battle against terrorism and the threat it represents to the people and future of Egypt will persevere.
We will continue to confront terrorism with all our persistence and determination, never faltering and never relinquishing the nation's security and stability.
The emergency law has, to a great extent, minimized terrorist threats and helped preempt many terrorist plans during the past years. Many countries have recently passed comprehensive laws to combat terrorism.
Time is ripe for us to follow suite during the upcoming period. There is a need for a firm and a decisive law that eliminates terrorism and uproots its threats. A law that protects national security and ensures stability.
A law that provides a legislative substitute to combat terrorism and replace the current emergency law.
The vision I propose goes beyond this primary priority of political reform to deal with other priorities and problems. Unemployment, housing, prices, means of transport, cost of medical care and medications, sufferings of the retired and those who live in slums. l am not offering words and promises, but a pledge to implement this vision.
Achieving national goals takes more than words and promises. Words do not defeat terrorism, can not offer jobs. Words can not build a school or a hospital; neither can they build a free democratic society.
I am committed to continue building modern society; a growing economy; free citizen in a democratic nation. A police force that enforces law and respect human rights.
A strong Egypt, proud of its armed forces, stability, modernity, regional role and international high standing. Proud of its institution and competitiveness.
I am committed to continuing economic and social development that ensures job creation for the youth, higher income for the families, and a decent life for the retired and better services for the citizens.
Together we shape a new tomorrow that supports the aspirations of the middle class, protects the vulnerable, supports women and single parents and secure the future of our sons and grand sons.
I will seek to gain your trust and support for a new term. Should you bestow upon me the honor of continuing to lead the next phase of our journey, we will embark together on the next stage, with its transformations, challenges, and hopes, confident that we are on the right path.
We will never compromise on the security and stability of the nation. We will guard its supreme interests and its free will.
We will never permit a foreign presence on our soil of external interference in our affairs.
We will not be dragged into gambling with Egypt's security or the lives and future of its people. We will not surrender to the threat of terrorism or appease it.
We will never compromise on the safety and security of our citizens. Together, we will complete the tenets of our democracy and the liberalization of our economy.
We will preserve the gains of our farmers and workers while protecting the needy.
We will open the doors of prosperity and employment for our youth. We shall affirm Egypt's role, both in its region and worldwide.
We will pave the way for our future generations to raise the banner of a nation that has found its way towards the future; generations ready to take their to lead.
I extend my hand to you, renewing my pledge to God, to the nation and to each every one of you, to be as you have always known me; faithful to the interests of Egypt, able to shoulder this responsibility with dedication and integrity, discharging its duties and bearing its burdens with honor and sincerity.
Your troubles are my troubles, your concerns are my concerns, and your ambitions are my ambitions.
We are joined by a common vision for a future that holds prosperity for all, and a journey that we embarked upon together and will conclude with the help and the blessing of God Almighty.
Al-Gomhuria: Mubarak to run for presidency
Abbas meets Egyptian security team
Zaqzouq: New plan for Islamic call
Mubarak receives Moussa: Arab leaders see serious situation in the region
Abul-Gheit: Egyptian team to submit AU proposals for UN Council expansion
Please add a link on your webiste pointing to ArabicNews.com and bookmark ArabicNews.com & subscribe to our daily email news bulletin.
| Advertise on ArabicNews.com. MyFlowers.com sold more than $2700 of flowers in one month advertising on ArabicNews.com! Make your company, and products a success. Special rate for new and small business. Inquire!Advertising Info