Egypt’s Arab League chief nominee: Mubarak hated me

Mostafa al-Fiqqi, Egypt's official nominee for Arab League chief, defended himself on Saturday against accusations that he belongs to the ousted regime of former president Hosni Mubarak.

At a meeting with a group of young people associated with the 25 January revolution the former diplomat said, "I was part of a corrupt regime, but I was not myself corrupt. I dealt with the regime as an expert who only provided his opinion."

Al-Fiqqi added that he was forced to join the National Democratic Party (NDP).

"I was never a member of the NDP," he said. "The whole story started in 2000 when I was appointed to the People's Assembly and was asked to mention the party I belonged to in the membership form."

Al-Fiqqi added that as a diplomat, he never joined the ranks of a party. He said he was advised to write down the name of the NDP "since the president appointed me and he is the president of the party."

"I do not belong to [Mubarak's regime], and Mubarak hated me. Zakaria Azmy [the former chief of presidential staff] can tell you so," he said.

"If Mubarak had liked me, I would have been appointed foreign minister 20 years ago," al-Fiqqi said.

He added that the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) and the deputy prime minister both nominated him to succeed outgoing Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa, whose term ends on 15 May.

Al-Fiqqi said the SCAF asked Arab countries to chose between three Egyptian figures and they selected him. When the name of former Egyptian foreign minister Ahmed Abul Gheit came up as a possible nominee, Syria threatened to withdraw from the League.

The youth called on al-Fiqqi to clearly state his position on opening of road crossings between Egypt and Gaza, recognizing the Libyan national interim council, creating an Arab prize in the name of Khaled Said, and supporting the nomination of the Egyptian people for the Nobel Peace Prize.

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