Former Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq said Wednesday the United Arab Emirates (UAE) had barred him from leaving the country, only hours after an announcement he would run for president in Egypt next year.
In an exclusive interview with Qatar-based Al-Jazeera television, Shafiq said he was satisfied with his residence in the UAE, but complained that Emirati authorities were not allowing him to travel to Egypt.
"I am surprised that the brotherly UAE authorities are blocking my journey to Egypt because of reasons I do not know or understand," he said, as reported by Anadolu Agency (AA). Shafiq said he wanted to meet Egyptian workers in the UAE as part of his election campaign before he goes to Egypt.
"Despite my gratitude and appreciation for the UAE's hospitality, I reject the interference in the affairs of my country and preventing me from exercising my constitutional right by obstructing my participation in a national and sacred event." He urged UAE authorities to lift the restrictions and allow his freedom to travel. "I pledge to my nation that I will not stay away from my duty, no matter what."
Shafiq's candidacy could see him stand against President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who has yet to officially declare his candidacy, but looks all but certain to run in and dominate the election next year.
Shafiq, who was tried in absentia on corruption charges after narrowly losing the 2012 election to the first democratically elected president, Mohammed Morsi, has emerged as a critic and possible contender to Sissi in the past two years.
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