A. It depends on the strategic vision. In a time of major change, strategy should be revisited. Old angles should be reviewed. In as much as the relations between Egypt and the U.S. should continue to be solid, the changes in the Arab world should be taken into consideration.
What does that mean?
On the positive side [the countries will continue] with cooperation, with understanding, with consultations. But bear in mind that democracy is emerging. It will not be a matter of a telephone call to one person that will give the answer: yes or no.
Officials in Washington are concerned about the change in Egypt’s relationship with Iran.
Iran is not the natural enemy of Arabs, and it shouldn’t be. We have a lot to gain by peaceful relations — or less tense relations — with Iran.
The U.S. is focused on the nuclear issue.
The nuclear issue in the Middle East means Israel and then Iran.
If you become president would you keep the [peace] treaty with Israel?
The treaty is a treaty. For us, the treaty has been signed and it is for peace, but it depends also on the other side. . . . If you asked me what kind of relations between the Arab world and Israel I would like to see, I would say that the Arab position — of which Egypt is a party — rests on the Arab initiative of 2002.
Are you worried about how well the secular groups here in Egypt are going to do in the upcoming parliamentary election?
Presidential elections should have preceded the parliamentary elections, and a new civilian president should have been elected in order for him to preside over and lead the work to draft a new constitution and establish the framework of a new republic.
Then should come the parliamentary elections.
It was the Supreme Military Council that decided to have the parliamentary elections first?
It was the amendments to the constitution, which were approved [in a referendum] by the majority over those who opposed it, like myself and others. I firmly believe that presidential elections should precede parliamentary elections.
What did the Military Council say to that?
Until now it is [planning] the parliamentary elections, but I believe we have enough time to perhaps reconsider.
So the Supreme Military Council might reconsider [the election schedule]?
Yes, the Supreme Council has the sovereignty and is running Egypt.
Many political groups seem very disorganized.
That’s why they should be given more time in order for the next parliamentary elections to reflect the real elements of society.
Do you share the concern that if the election were held in September the Muslim Brotherhood would win?
They could or could not. There are other parties who are accelerating the pace to prepare themselves, but I don’t think those forces will have enough time to find a room for themselves in the parliament.