Getting to know the Suez
Is your interest with the Canal purely based on economic reasons and how willing are you to work with Egypt if the Canal remains nationalised?
Firstly, indeed we do have economic interests as we are the founder and one of the main stakeholders in this canal. Secondly, of course our interest is for peace to remain in the region. Today in our committee we introduced a draft resolution where ourselves and the UK are sponsors of this resolution and it was even signed by Egypt. It was stated at the canal remained nationalised. However, under the surveillance of the UN and under surveillance of UN peacekeeping forces Britain and France are thinking about a[n additional - Ed.] sanctioning mechanism. Because what happens if the canal is blocked in the future, we might ask the Security Council to impose economic sanctions, for example.
So, would you say that your interests in terms of going into the canal were purely economical and now your position has changed to a more peaceful one?
The reason why our troops are there still is the ongoing war between Israel and Egypt. The mission doesn't have anything to do with our economic reasons it was only about peace in the region. Of course, we have been deeply concerned by Egypt’s nationalisation of the canal. However, the piece was main concern.
Were you surprised by the position of the United States and the Soviet Union?
For the US? Definitely. You would have expected them to actually side with us and to commit themselves to upholding the peace. For the Soviet Union, of course we are concerned about their entanglements in other parts of the world for example the Hungarian revolution that is happening right now. We are concerned about this crisis leading to increased Soviet influence in the region. Over in our committee, the Soviet Union has proved to be cooperative when it comes to trust, as it is one of the signatories that resolution.
“You mentioned in the draft resolution that there's been talk of a demilitarised zone. Could you explain the proposal and your thoughts on it”
“So, the main proposal actually originated with the UK and French delegation. Article three of our draft resolution recommends establishing a demilitarised zone 10 miles into the existing territory on the Israeli-Egyptian border which will be overseen by the UN peacekeeping forces as well as tide to French and British troop presence in a region. This is mainly as we have committed to stay in the region until UN peacekeeping forces are ready to take over.”
“There's been talk of a demilitarised zone. Could you explain the proposal and your thoughts on it?”
“Obviously, since Israel army invaded our territory in Gaza Strip, we agree now with the demilitarised zone between our national territories in order to protect our country from an Israeli invasion. So, we are really happy, and I agree with this zone.”
How much push back do you feel against the UK, France and Israel?
“I think French and British understood their mistake. Now the presence of British and French troops will be controlled by the UN and in a time period of one year they will be withdrawn and substituted by United Nations peacekeeping troops that will not include any country present in the crisis right now.”
What relationship will you have going forwards with them?
“We expect them to respect the Egyptian law. We accept them to stay there only to maintain peace between us and [the - Ed.] Israeli forces that are occupying Palestine. So we believe that we are free and open to discussions with them and as we understood through these sessions they are willing to do it too.”
Were you surprised by the position of the US and Soviet Union?
“We expected the reaction of Soviet Union because we already know that they will support us. Also, we are not surprised about the reaction of the United States because they are saying they are for peace and cooperation. They also used to be British colony and they understand it better than other nations how is it difficult to finally become independent not only by sovereignty of the territory, but actually economically as well.”
This interview was brought to you by Wilma Dickfit, EuroMUN2021 Special Correspondent to the Suez Canal Crisis.