Ottawa fears ‘extremists’ will rise from Egypt’s protest movement

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

OTTAWA - The Stephen Harper government in Canada has expressed concern about ongoing developments in Egypt, and about what might come next, and whether it will lead to democratic reform or extremism.

The Conservative government said that while it backs democratic reforms in Egypt, it will watch and see whether Egyptians feel President Hosni Mubarak has done enough by pledging not to run for re-election, the Globe and Mail reports.

It stressed on the need for an “orderly” transition, and added that it will judge any government based on its impact on Middle East security and its attitude toward Israel.

“We are saying that it’s important to be able to maintain stability, peace, to be able to recognize Israel. Those are the parameters through which we feel the next government must stand up,” Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said in an interview with CBC.

The question of whether the winds of democratic change will blow into an extremist movement is high on the minds of Western governments.

Some worry that Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, allying itself with secular protest movements, would lead Egypt in that direction.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s spokesman Dimitri Soudas said that “extremists” might take advantage of the protest movement.

“Canada does not want to see extremist elements infiltrating the process for democratic reform in Egypt,” he added. (ANI)

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