Egyptian Foreign Ministry defends reported bid to smear uprising

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry on Tuesday defended its role in spreading misinformation about the 25 January uprising that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak.

Independent Egyptian daily Al-Shorouk published a telegram on Monday sent by the office of Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit in which the latter made claims that protesters were receiving foreign funding.

According to the newspaper, the telegram–issued on 3 February–was sent to diplomatic missions abroad and was signed by Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki. In the telegram, Aboul Ghait called on Egypt's diplomatic missions to "inform foreign ministries that the ministry’s communications with the security services indicate the arrest of foreign elements among the protesters."

The telegram also said the ministry had "verified information on sums of money in foreign currencies being paid to the protestors to keep them where they were."

In a statement on Tuesday, the Foreign Ministry asserted that it does not participate in the "shaping or drafting of Egypt’s internal positions; rather, it represents the official position of the state on any internal developments without being involved in the determination of such positions."

The statement also noted that the Foreign Ministry was “only one of the branches of the system involved in securing Egypt’s national security," which also includes the ministries of defense and interior, along with the General Intelligence directorate.

“The ministry carries out the tasks entrusted to it within the context of said system and under the umbrella of the state’s political leadership," the statement concluded.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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