According to interim prime minister Hazem El-Beblawi, the sit-ins at Rabaa Al-Adewaya and Al-Nahda Square hindered the roadmap to democracy following the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi, and their dispersal was necessary to move Egypt forward.
In a Tuesday interview with satellite channel MBC Masr Beblawi addressed the security situation, former interim vice-president Mohamed ElBaradei, the economy, the role of the military and the United State’s financial aid to Egypt.
“The government could not have proceeded with amending the constitution and holding polls without dispersing Rabaa and Al-Nahda, especially as they were not peaceful,” said El-Beblawi.
The dispersal of the sit-ins and subsequent violence in protest have left over a thousand people dead. El-Beblawi said security forces acted prudently, but this has been disputed by independent human rights organisations. Human Rights Watch called the force “excessive” and “lethal.”
El-Beblawi pointed out that the only member of the National Defence Council who was opposed dispersing the sit-in was ElBaradei, who resigned the day after the dispersal then flew to Vienna.
“[ElBaradei] was consistent with what he believes, and I appreciate his position,” said El-Beblawi.
El-Beblawi said the fate of the economy lies in the future, and stressed the need for quality workers in the public sectors of health and education.
“Stability, security, and optimism will bring about a better economy,” he said.
The economy would not be damaged if US financial aid was lost, said El-Beblawi, but a cut in military aid could mean the loss of weapons and important strategic alliances.
El-Beblawi also made it clear that the military’s role is in security, not politics. He stressed that interim defence minister General Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi was not involved in choosing the interim cabinet.
“The military has supported the popular movement, but military leaders realise that those who have most to lose from military rule are military men themselves,” said El-Beblawi.
El-Beblawi was appointed prime minister of the interim government on 9 July after the ouster of Morsi. Under Hosni Mubarak, he had previously served as deputy prime minister and finance minister.