Egyptian presidential hopeful Amr Moussa still committed to decade-old Arab Peace Initiative

Hosni Mubarak and Amr Moussa: two faces of the same coin?

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Egyptian presidential candidate Amr Moussa still supports the decade-old “Arab Peace Initiative” toward Israel, even though Israel has regularly rejected it in word and deed.

“It is our initiative and we will stick to it,” Moussa said in a brief interview with The Electronic Intifada’s Rami Almeghari at the candidate’s campaign headquarters in Cairo’s Dokki neighborhood on 13 May.

The Arab League adopted the initiative at its 2002 Beirut summit, offering Israel complete peace and full diplomatic relations in exchange for ending its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip and allowing the formation of a Palestinian state (Text: Arab peace plan of 2002, BBC).

Yet, Israel launched a devastating war on Lebanon in 2006, carried out a massive assault on Gaza in 2009, and has if anything accelerated its construction of Jewish-only settlements in the West Bank while Gaza remains subject to blockade.

Asked how he would break the deadlock on the peace process, Moussa said, “There is a stalemate now, but the important thing is for the settlements to come to a halt, a complete halt.”

Without providing specifics, Moussa also committed himself to efforts to end the blockade of Gaza, particularly to lifting restrictions at the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza.

“Ending the Israeli blockade is a must and we are going to work for that to achieve just that,” he said.

Moussa is a former foreign minister in the ousted government of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, and a former secretary-general of the Arab League.

While opinion polls in Egypt are not considered reliable, Moussa is one of the most widely recognized candidates in a crowded field that includes independent Islamist Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, former Mubarak Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq and Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated candidate Muhammad Morsy. The first round of voting in the election is scheduled for 23-24 May.

Listen to the interview: