In a recent TV interview,former U.N. secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali emphasized the importance of stability in Egypt. In response to the interviewer's question whether he was afraid that stability would come at the expense of freedom of expression," he said: "Stability is the number one priority. It trumps any other consideration."
Following are excerpts from the interview, which aired on Sky News Arabia on December 7, 2014:
Boutrous Boutrous-Ghali: In my opinion, the most important thing for Egypt is stability. We are in need of stability, not of demonstrations.
These demonstrations are harmful to Egypt. They harm its tourism, as well as its status in international financial circles. There must be punishment for these [demonstrations], because they are detrimental to Egypt's development. A million Egyptians cannot afford to eat because tourism has come to a standstill, as a result of the demonstrations and the bombings.
Interviewer: Don't you think that stability requires political reconciliation?
Boutrous Boutrous-Ghali: There can be no reconciliation. I witnessed similar cases in Central America, Cambodia, Mozambique, and Angola. No!
Interviewer: No? Stability has…
Boutrous Boutrous-Ghali: Stability is our number one priority.
We need to achieve stability through all possible means. Stability is the most important thing. It is the first step, and then we can discuss what's next. There can be no development if there is a bombing every week. There can be no development as long as policemen are being killed. Can't you see what is going on? The opposition abroad has a vested interest in claiming that there is no stability and that there is new reactionarism, but this is all nonsense.
Interviewer: Aren't you afraid that stability will come at the expense of freedom of expression…
Boutrous Boutrous-Ghali: Stability is the number one priority. It trumps any other consideration.
Interviewer: In what do you think [Al-Sisi] has been successful, and in what has he failed?
Boutrous Boutrous-Ghali: I cannot talk about failures, since we are at the beginning of a long journey.
Interviewer: You support him completely?
Boutrous Boutrous-Ghali: Yes, 100%.
Boutrous Boutrous-Ghali: Because, as I've told you 50 times, it's all about stability. We need stability in this country.
Interviewer: Let me ask you about the Muslim Brotherhood rule in Egypt. Why didn't they manage to stay in power?
Boutrous Boutrous-Ghali: It's because they're backward. They took us back 400 years in time.
Boutrous Boutrous-Ghali: They do not understand the global situation. They do not understand globalization or the technological revolution. They don't know anything about open-mindedness. After all, whenever we need anything, we seek help abroad. We get weapons from abroad. We get experts from abroad. If I need surgery and have the financial means, I will have it done in London, Paris, or New York. We are in need of the outer world. We need to be open-minded, rather than go 400 years back in time.
Interviewer: You mean that when we need something done well, we seek it abroad. In all fields: technology, medicine, science, culture…
Boutrous Boutrous-Ghali: What is the one thing that Egyptians care about the most? Soccer. Didn't they bring an expert coach from abroad to train them? There you go.