Egypt's Regime Orders Ministers to Avoid Giving Provocative Statements on Subsidizing
Egypt's Regime Orders Ministers to Avoid Giving Provocative Statements on Subsidizing
Wednesday, January 19,2011 14:24

 The fall of the Tunisian authoritarian regime tends to come as a surprise - a miscalculation by those in power of the scale of popular outrage as it put the Egyptian regime on heightened alert over the dangers posed by widespread economic grievances, making them more likely to act early to defuse the tension. Egyptian officials over the weekend reportedly spoke of raising subsidies on food prices to ease the burden on the poor, mindful of the danger it posed.
 
Former European Commission President, Romano Prodi, said Egypt may be vulnerable to an uprising similar to Tunisia as “the fragility of the political situation makes it extremely vulnerable to youth unemployment and the increase in the price of bread,” but Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul-Gheit dismissed speculation that Tunisia-style protests would spread to Egypt as “nonsense”.

The government demanded that ministers avoid making controversial remarks that may stir up public opinion, or hint at the potential for an increase in commodity prices during the coming period designed to incite people's wrath or fuel tension amid low wages and price hikes.

Trade and Industry Minister Rashid Mohammed Rashid, ruled out a "Tunisia scenario" in his country over the economy because Egypt distributes 64 million ration cards covering the vast majority of Egyptian people who have been isolated from the global market in times of crisis. Egypt gives a subsidy for Petroleum products.

Speaking at a press conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Rashid pointed out $100 billion spent annually to hold down the price of essential goods and that the State is committed to increase this amount amid global price rises.

 "Egypt's benchmark stock index fell after a popular revolt ousted president Zane El Abidine Ben Ali amid fears of repeating the Tunisian scenario in Egypt, Business Week said. 

Marina Ottaway, director of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, was quoted as saying "Tunisian protests may encourage demonstrators who took to the streets recently, to protest against bad economic conditions in other Arab countries like Egypt, Jordan and Morocco."

Former European Commission President Romano Prodi, said Egypt may be vulnerable to an uprising similar to Tunisia as “the fragility of the political situation makes it extremely vulnerable to youth unemployment and the increase in the price of bread,” according to an editorial in IL Messaggero.

Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul-Gheit dismissed speculation that Tunisia-style protests would spread to Egypt as “nonsense“. Each society has its own circumstances. If the Tunisian people decide to take that approach, it is their business. He warned the West to stay out of Arab affairs.
 
"Egypt has said that the Tunisian people's will is what counts," said the foreign minister.
"Those who imagine things and seek to escalate the situation will not achieve their goals and will only harm themselves," he warned.

He asserted that a number of satellite television channels were attempting to "inflame and destroy Arab societies," pointing out that these channels were, "unfortunately, Western or of Western orientation."

Abul Gheit said he doubted that the Arab economic summit--scheduled to be held in the Red Sea resort town of Sharm al-Sheikh on Wednesday--would issue a resolution on Tunisia.

 "But if the summit chooses to address the Tunisian issue, it will,” he said. “Overall, the will of the Tunisian people is the most important element in this regard."

"No one is resisting the will of the people, but the Tunisian public will also be accountable for this situation in the future," the FM added.

 

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