Blair backs Egypt's government and criticises Brotherhood
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair offered his firm backing to Egypt’s government on Thursday, saying the Muslim Brotherhood was "taking the country away from its basic values of hope and progress."
Blair told Abu Dhabi-based Sky News Arabia during a visit to Cairo to discuss the Middle East Peace Process that the Egyptian army intervened to overthrow elected President Mohammad Mursi at the will of the people. “But in order to take the country to the next stage of its development, which should be democratic, we should be supporting the new government in doing that,” Blair added.
"This is what I say to my colleagues in the West: the fact is, the Muslim Brotherhood tried to take the country away from its basic values of hope and progress," Blair said.
He first expressed his support for the Egyptian army last year when he said that “chaos” would have been the alternative to military intervention.
Blair did not acknowledge the military’s violent clampdown on Muslim Brotherhood supporters during the past few months and his office has not commented on how the West could support democracy without first condemning such actions, according to an article by the Guardian.
Side stepping the issue, Blair said it was better not to discuss the past in comments he made following his meeting with Egyptian army leader Abdel Fatah el-Sisi on his trip to Egypt.
“You know, we can debate the past and it’s probably not very fruitful to do so, but right now I think it’s important the whole of the international community gets behind the leadership here and helps.”
Former Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd criticized Blair’s statements.
“We should not go out of our way to clap our hands and say ‘that’s marvelous’ as Tony Blair has done. We should keep our counsel, keep our wits about us, and wait for the last act of the drama which may be some years away,” he said, TheIndependent reported.
Mursi, Egypt’s first freely elected president, was ousted on July 3, 2013 a year after taking office following mass protests backed by the army. Many have labeled the ouster a military coup and still consider Mursi the rightful president of the country.
Blair had previously supported Egypt’s former President Husni Mubarak, who was toppled in January 2011 during Egypt’s uprisings.