BERNHARD SCHELL

While the focus of international attention has shifted to Syria, interest in Egypt is on the wane.

The Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND) has tabled a seven-point agenda urging an inclusive political dialogue within Egypt and necessary support by the European Union, the US and international institutions for a genuine social, economic and political structural reform not only in Egypt but also in the region.

“Egypt faces threats to its security, civil peace and national unity. This requires that all players, whether inside or outside Egypt, provide the country with necessary and imminent support to stop it from slipping into violence and instability. Such an eventuality will have very bad consequences on the future of the Egyptian people and the whole region.”

“Although there is extensive awareness to protect the Egyptian state, safeguard its persistence and support its role,” says ANND, “efforts are still required on all fronts, including the international front, to reach effective and permanent solutions that respect human rights and allow for a resumption of the transitional political process.”

Such a process includes promulgating a new Constitution that meets the aspirations of all Egyptians of all factions and affiliations, and creating conditions suitable for holding fair, democratic and unchallengeable elections. “This will guarantee the right of Egyptian men and women to decide a future for them and for their representative institutions,” ANND said in a statement released on Aug. 27.

ANND, a member of Social Watch, is a regional network, working in 12 Arab countries with seven national networks, which have an extended membership of 200 civil society organisations (CSOs) of diverse backgrounds and 23 non-governmental organisations (NGO). Its headquarters are located in Beirut, Lebanon, since 2001.

The network’s activities aim at supporting “democracy, social justice and stability in close communication with the Egyptian and Arab civil societies and away from political disagreements or conflicting stances about events, players and responsibilities”. According to ANND, recent events were “neither haphazard nor coincidental” but a consequence of accumulated developments that clearly emerged after the presidential election. Things were further complicated by the performance of the unseated president, Muhammed Morsi, and by the practices of the Muslim Brotherhood, which made more enemies and lost allies. The Arab NGO proposes a seven-point approach for resolving in a credible and effective manner what it calls a “dangerous crisis” for Egyptian and Arab civil society organisations:

First: Putting an end to violence.

Second: Adopting a rights-oriented approach that does not discriminate among victims on political, religious or other considerations, respects human beings and requires just trials for suspects and detainees.

Third: Avoiding the logic of exclusion irrespective of reservations and differences.

Fourth: Underscoring that Egypt’s events are a natural consequence of a weak state and economic and social policies that ignored the revolution’s slogans and did not change the applied development model, thus reproducing former choices and discrepancies and deepening protests and divisions.

“The required transition is not only a nominal political one; it should also be a deep and structural social one. This has not taken place in Egypt, Tunisia or Libya, and its importance was not recognized by international players, who deepened the crisis by defending pre-revolutionary choices,” ANND asserts.

Fifth: Egypt’s dangerous conditions and the prospects for further violence require an abstention from stances that worsen the crisis.

ANND urges Europe and the United States to help calm down things by calling on the two main sides of the conflict to put an end to violence and start a national dialogue that includes all parties in order to reach a political formula to resolve the crisis and put an end to violence.

Sixth: After popular revolutions managed to unseat the heads of some regimes, economic and social issues should be prioritized in the transition period because they are key issues to achieve justice and equality. The reason: These issues are also preludes to resolving political crises and social dilemmas.

Seventh: Economic and social challenges of national and regional priority should be discussed with EU and US allies and international institutions; such challenges are related to the nature of international relations and the existing world order. They require an indepth evaluation of economic and trade ties and an amendment of national and regional choices in the light of the evaluation’s outcomes. –Arab News