Egypt presidential hopeful sees Ethiopia, Twitter as potential enemies

Mortada Mansour says he would suspend protests, sit-ins and strikes for one year to help the country get back on its feet

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Mortada Mansour, one of three candidates running for the presidential election in Egypt, said he would wage war against Ethiopia if it continues building a Nile river dam and threatened to shut down social media websites, the state-run Al Ahram Online reported.

During an interview on the privately-owned al-Hayah TV channel, Mansour addressed Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam, a thorny subject between Cairo and Addis Ababa.

Although stressing he would seek international assistance to resolve the dispute between the two states, he warned that he would be willing to go to war to protect Egypt’s share of Nile water, Al Ahram Online reported.

“Nile water is the source of life in Egypt and I will not allow anyone to diminish our share of it,” he said.

Egypt relies heavily on the Nile for its water and images of the construction of the Renaissance Dam released last May led to public anxiety in the country of 80 million.

On the domestic front, Mansour said he would ban social media websites if they posed a threat to national security.

“If I think Twitter and Facebook could lead to the fall of the state, then yes [I would ban them],” said the controversial lawyer and harsh critic of activists who led Egypt’s 2011 uprising.

The former judge and current head of Egypt’s Zamalek football club has called for a suspension on protests, sit-ins and strikes for a period of one year to help the country get back on its feet both at the economic and political levels.

He said if elected president he would also reject the $1.3 billion annual U.S. aid in order to make Egyptians “start working and producing,” adding that the aid was meant to support the Camp David peace accord with Israel.

That accord, he said, no longer holds today.

“Israel does not respect the treaty anymore. Weapons have been smuggled lately from Israel into the Egyptian border, which contradicts with articles in the agreement,” he said.

Mansour announced his presidential bid on Sunday, joining former army general Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in the race for the top political post in the country.

Hamdeen Sabahim, a leftist political figure, is also running in the election.

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