x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Egypt disowns attack on UAE by vice chairman of its own ruling party

The Egyptian government and the ruling Freedom and Justice Party yesterday disowned comments about the UAE by the vice chairman of the party, Essam El Erian.

Essam El Erian, pictured in 2010, told the upper house of parliament, the Shura Council, on Monday that 'Egypt has lost its patience' over 11 Egyptians detained in the UAE. Amr Nabil / AP Photo
Essam El Erian, pictured in 2010, told the upper house of parliament, the Shura Council, on Monday that 'Egypt has lost its patience' over 11 Egyptians detained in the UAE. Amr Nabil / AP Photo

ABU DHABI // The Egyptian government and the ruling Freedom and Justice Party yesterday disowned comments about the UAE by the vice chairman of the party, Essam El Erian.

Mr El Erian told the upper house of parliament, the Shura Council, on Monday that "Egypt has lost its patience" over 11 Egyptians detained in the UAE since December while under investigation for threatening the country's national security.

The investigation is believed to have uncovered the names of hundreds of people associated with the Muslim Brotherhood network.

The group are said to have held secret meetings, set up companies for financial support and gathered confidential information about the UAE's defence capabilities.

"Tell the UAE that nuclear Iran is coming, the Persians are coming, not the Egyptians, and you will become slaves of the Persians," Mr El Erian said.

The foreign affairs ministry in Cairo said yesterday Egypt was proud of its deep-rooted fraternal ties with the UAE and its people.

A spokesman, Badr Abdel Aaty, said relations with the UAE were based on mutual respect and joint interests, and would not be affected by any statements.

Mr Abdel Aaty said the ministry was closely following up on the conditions of the detained Egyptians - through the Egyptian embassy in Abu Dhabi - and taking the necessary measures to provide care and legal assistance to them.

The leader of the Freedom and Justice Party said Mr El Erian's comments did not represent the party's official position.

The foreign ministry also criticised similar comments by another Shura Council member, Abdul Rahman Metwally.

"These statements are categorically rejected and should not pass unremarked," the ministry's Mr Abdel Aaty said.

The President, Sheikh Khalifa, ordered the release of 103 Egyptian prisoners in April, a pardon welcomed by the Egyptian ambassador, Tamer Mansour.

Mr Mansour said the gesture would improve relations between the two countries, which became strained after Hosni Mubarak was toppled in 2011.

The initiative was "bound to open all paths of good deeds between Egypt and its sister, the UAE. It will also remove all the harmful residues that had clung to their historic relations in the previous period", he said.

Sheikh Khalifa also pledged to settle the prisoners' financial obligations incurred as a result of their detention.

The pardon "underlines the President's keenness to offer the released prisoners the opportunity to start a new life and alleviate the suffering of their families", the state news agency Wam reported.

amustafa@thenational.ae