The 1st meeting of Egypt’s National Dialogue
Tuesday، 05 July 2022 - 03:09 PM
The first meeting of the Board of Trustees of the National Dialogue was launched, on Tuesday evening 5-7-2022, at the headquarters of the National Training Academy, with the participation of the political and trade union forces, in fulfillment of what was previously announced that the first dialogue sessions will start in the first week of July.
Dr. Diaa Rashwan, the General Coordinator of the National Dialogue and the Head of Egypt's Journalists Syndicate, confirmed that the convening of the Board of Trustees marks the official start of the activities of the National Dialogue, pointing out that the Board of Trustees will, during its first meeting, consider its details and dates, take the necessary decisions regarding it, and announce it to the public opinion to allow it to interact with the dialogue and participate in it by various direct and electronic means.
The national dialogue administration had announced that the General Coordinator of the National Dialogue Dr. Diaa Rashwan will be responsible for starting consultations with political parties and all other participants in the national dialogue to form board of trustees that will include 15 members representing all parties, public figures, and experts to ensure their effective participation.
The administration had, also, added that all needed logistics and supplies had already been completed by the National Training Academy, which is in charge of organizing the National Youth Conference.
The National Dialogue Board of Trustees comprises of 19 members, including Ahmed Al-Sharqawi, a member of the House of Representatives, Amira Saber, a member of the House of Representatives, and Gamal El-Keshki, editor-in-chief of Al-Ahram Al-Arabi magazine.
It, also, includes Dr. Gouda Abdel-Khaleq, the former Minister of Social Solidarity and Professor of Economics at Cairo University, Dr. Reham Bahi, Professor of International Relations at Cairo University, Samir Morcos, a researcher and political writer, and Dr. Talaat Abdel-Qawi, a member of the House of Representatives and head of the General Union of NGOs.
This is in addition to Mohamed Salmawy, the writer and journalist, Dr. Mohamed Fayez Farhat, director of the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, Dr. Mahmoud Alam El-Din, professor of journalism at Cairo University, Negad El-Borai, a human rights lawyer, and Dr. Hani Sarie El-Din, professor of commercial and maritime law at Cairo University.
Dr. Diaa Rashwan, the General Coordinator of the National Dialogue, and Counselor Mahmoud Fawzy, Head of the Technical Secretariat of the National Dialogue, received the members of the National Dialogue's Board of Trustees to welcome them.
Coordinator General of the National Dialogue and Head of the Syndicate of Journalists Diaa Rashwan delivered a speech the inaugural session of the meeting of the board of trustees of the National Political Dialogue, held at the National Training Academy (NTA).
Rashwan announced that the New Republic is a major event in Egypt's modern history, saying: "We are starting today to found the New Republic through the national dialogue upon an invitation of President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, who asserted the importance of launching the dialogue for a modern and civil democratic country."
Rashwan stressed that this dialogue is for all people not involved in violence in the interest of all Egyptians, noting that all groups, which took part in violence or terrorism, will be excluded from the national dialogue.
He noted that the political powers and unions are a main part of the Egyptian people, but they do not represent all people.
The coordinator general clarified that there is a large majority, who are not allied with the regime or against it and they are all invited to take part in the dialogue.
He stressed that many groups of Egyptian people have the right to participate in the dialogue through their ideas and suggestions.
Rashwan said that the national action priorities, which will be discussed during the dialogue, should produce the desired result either in legislative or executive form that need to be submitted to the president, stressing the necessity of reaching consensus during the dialogue.
He pointed out that priorities are not only political, but they are economic, sports, cultural and other, explaining that these priorities will be referred to the political leadership to take decisions on them.
He underlined that the representation in the board of trustees and all dialogue sessions will be clear and equal, saying all opinions will be finally submitted to the president without exclusion, saying: "The dialogue aims to develop serious alternatives, not to highlight the reasons only. The reasons are important, but the alternatives should be specific.”
He added that the Egyptian people rely a lot on this dialogue, especially since its participants are supposed to express most of the sects of the Egyptian people, affirming that each phase of the dialogue should have outcomes to make the people feel that achievements are accomplished.
Rashwan said the National Political Dialogue revives the spirit of the June 30 Revolution, noting that the launch of the national dialogue marks the first day of the new republic of Egypt.
He added that all proposals and visions submitted by all parties or even ordinary citizens should be taken into account and discussed by the board. pointing out that the dialogue aims to develop serious and real alternatives, he said, pointing out that a proposal on the national dialogue’s bylaw is set to be debated during the first meeting of the board.
For her part, the Executive Director of the National Training Academy (NTA) Rasha Ragheb voiced her delight with hosting this important event, adding that the academy adheres to the principles of full neutrality and integrity under the directives of President Abdel Fattah El Sisi to have a constructive and effective dialogue.
For his part, Counselor Mahmoud Fawzy, Head of the Technical Secretariat of the National Dialogue reviewed the issues to be debated during the dialogue's sessions, after presenting them to the dialogue's board of trustees for reviewal.
He said invitations had already been sent to political elites, journalists, artists, MPs, senators, clergymen, human rights activists, and pensioners, among others, to take part in the dialogue, announcing that President Abdel Fattah El Sisi has promised to participate in the final stages of a national political dialogue.
As for citizens' interaction, Fawzy revealed that about 110 response letters have so far been received from citizens, 65 from political parties, 62 from public figures, 38 from NGOs, 17 from lawmakers, 11 from syndicates, and five letters from ministries and government bodies.
He noted that proposed issues had been divided into three main themes, namely the political theme, which makes up 37.2 per cent of total proposals, the social theme 33.1 per cent, and the economic theme 29.7 per cent.
Fawzy added that the varied proposals included 228 ones accompanied with written visions, 136 participation requests, and 38 special requests that seek to execute a court ruling or present an issue before the Presidential Pardon Committee.
Egyptian writer Mohamed Salmawy said that President Abdel Fattah El Sisi's call for national dialogue is legitimate, noting that the move will be completed by the wide participation of various segments of the society.
Salmawy noted that the dialogue's reference is the 2014 Constitution, which consolidated the features of the civil and modern democratic state.
He stressed the importance of focusing on the soft power axis, calling for inviting people from all walks of life to open sessions to listen to their suggestions and aspirations.
The Press Conference
Head of the Egyptian Journalists' Syndicate and General Coordinator of the National Political Dialogue (NPD) Diaa Rashwan asserted, in a press conference held after the inaugural session at the National Training Academy, saying: "those who have planned, executed, or incited acts of terrorism," are excluded from the dialogue,” adding that "those who have blood on their hands, topped by the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood group, rejecters of Egypt's 2014 constitution are also excluded from the dialogue."
He said 17 members of the NPD's board of trustees attended the dialogue's opening session, noting that their role is confined to moderating the dialogue without interfering into the issues under debate.
Rashwan noted that the dialogue had led to the adoption of a special bylaw regulating the board's operation before publishing it on NPD's official website, along with the dialogue's code of ethics.
Rashwan said "the first session of the National Political Dialogue set a living example of what a responsible national dialogue could be, in terms of seriousness and respect for diversity."
He added that the first session had identified the powers and responsibilities of NPD's board of trustees, which include moderating the dialogue's sessions, organizing its agenda and reviewing its outcomes before submitting them to the President of the Republic.
Rashwan pointed out that "Afterwards, the outcomes will be presented to the legislative bodies concerned," referring to the upper and lower chambers of the parliament and relevant executive bodies.
He stressed that the bylaw regulating the board's operation upholds the principle of consensus, and there is no room for the majority rule in this dialogue, noting that "In case of divergent views, they will be presented to the President of the Republic, accompanied with their supporting arguments, to decide upon them at his own discretion."
Rashwan said that all citizens, political parties, as well as student entities or trade associations are invited to participate in the dialogue, whether or not they have received an official invitation from the board, stating that the board's next meeting will be held on Tuesday, July 19.