Morsy appears in pre-recorded interview Sunday evening

A pre-recorded television interview with President Mohamed Morsy conducted by media personality Amr al-Leithy scheduled to air some time after 8 pm Sunday on three Egyptian channels. The two-hour interview was aired at around 2 am.

A statement that the president’s office issued Saturday said Morsy would address the main internal and external challenges facing Egypt and the country’s future economic, political and social prospects.The interview will air on state TV as well as private channels Al-Mehwar and Al-Nahar.

The president’s office said the interview aims to frankly and clearly answer all the questions that the general public has.

In excerpts released by state news agency MENA, Morsy said he decided to raise the compensation given to families of those who lost their lives during recent violence in Port Said to LE75,000, and that he intends to visit the city. He praised Egyptian intelligence, saying it secures the country well.

During the interview, Morsy called all political groups, including the opposition’s National Salvation Front, for an urgent national dialogue meeting Monday to discuss guarantees for the integrity of the elections.

The president said the NSF is a primary partner in the political process and that the dialogue has no limit. He also said he is keen on the transparency of the elections and the participation of all political forces.

He talked about raising the income tax exemption level from LE9,000 to LE12,000 per year, which would benefit 2.5 million families, and implementing a project to develop 68 slum areas, at a cost of LE600 million.

He said he intends to speed up procedures to return Port Said to being a free trade zone, saying the Shura Council already has a project to enact this.

Morsy also said he has assigned magistrates to investigate the killing of demonstrators in Port Said and Suez, and publicly announce the investigation results. He voiced strong support for the Armed Forces and intelligence service.

I belong to the drudging people of this country, and I am trying to achieve prosperity for them,” he said.

He said economic conditions are dire, adding, “Demonstrations and sit-ins, although legitimate in a climate of freedom, do harm the economy.”

He called on the media to lay down a code of ethics, but said, “I always respect constructive criticism,” he said. “And I will confront the counter-revolution with full force.”

He praised Egyptian expatriates living abroad for increasing their remittances, and saluted the Copts, calling them “our brothers.”

This is the third long interview Morsy has given to an Egyptian channel since he took office. The first long interview took place in September, when he appeared as a victorious leader weeks after his decision to sack the military top brass — a move that included retiring Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi and Armed Forces Chief of Staff Sami Anan.

His second long interview, in November, did not meet as much success. It came after his decision to issue a controversial constitutional declaration that granted him new powers. The move caused a wide uproar, with opposition groups marching for the first time since his election to the presidential palace to protest.

That interview was criticized for failing to respond to the opposition’s criticism, as well as for a lack of success in conveying his ideas. Many viewers turned some of his remarks, such as the need for Egyptians to hug themselves and love each other, into jokes.

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