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Tuesday, 23 July, 2002, 09:46 GMT 10:46 UK
Mubarak marks revolution jubilee
Gaddafi, Mubarak, Mrs Mubarak, Egyptian defence minister and his wife
Egyptian and Libyan leaders attended a gala at the Opera House
Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak delivered a speech on Monday to mark the 50th anniversary of the 23 July Revolution which abolished the monarchy and established Egypt as a republic.

The speech was delivered as part of the graduation ceremony of a batch of Military Academy cadets.

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was present, dressed in military uniform.

The following are excerpts from the speech as published by Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram:


Those who question the July Revolution through today's standards are making a serious mistake

In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. Citizen brothers, brothers and sons the officers and soldiers of the Armed Forces. The graduation of this new batch of Military Academy cadets coincides with the 50th anniversary of the glorious July Revolution that was carried out by a group of loyal sons of Egypt, Armed Forces officers who were motivated by their strong patriotic feelings and lofty loyalty to the people to make their blessed revolution.

It was a comprehensive revolution against the situation prevailing in the country. Egypt's internal situation was beyond reform because of the tyranny of foreign occupation and ruling elite's lack of social and political maturity and awareness. The executive and legislative bodies were far removed from the people's aspirations. The nation lost its pride and became powerless, threatened by the class conflict and factional sedition...

Those who question the July Revolution through today's standards are making a serious mistake. They are forgetting that it took place amid difficult domestic situation and regional and international upheavals. The revolution had to deal with them to maintain the independence of its national decision away from the Cold War considerations, bloc policies and conflicts of the superpowers...

It was only natural for the Revolution to make some mistakes while waging its successive battles internally and externally. However, these mistakes cannot make us blind to its magnificent achievements. These will remain a bright chapter in Egypt's modern history in spite of the doubters and the spiteful...

Domestic affairs

We've had to entrench the democratic path and bolster the freedom of the individual and society in continuation of previous efforts and in response to our strong belief in the Egyptian people's right to enjoy a genuine democracy, sound political party life and a solid, coherent domestic front that protects its [the people's] march and its legitimate struggle, guide its domestic and external movement and bolster its important role nationally, regionally and internationally.

We've had to rebuild our national economy based on foundations compatible with the international move towards globalisation and rectify the concepts of economic openness so that it is a productive one. This way it becomes beneficial to all Egyptians and helps our products' ability to compete in foreign markets and improve the quality of goods and services.

President Hosni Mubarak
Mr Mubarak's speech lasted 23 minutes
We have made tangible achievements to improve the Egyptian economy. We hope that there will be more reform and revival in the next phase despite the problems and circumstances caused by unfavourable international events and developments.

Middle East

After regaining every grain of sand of the beloved motherland, we have increased our ability to continue our efforts to realise a comprehensive and just peace, overcome the hardships in its way, enable the brotherly peoples to regain their territories that have been occupied [by Israel] since 5 June 1967 in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, the Syrian Golan Heights and southern Lebanon, and enable the brotherly Palestinian people to defend their usurped rights. Foremost among them are the rights to self-determination, liberation of their occupied territories and the establishment of an independent state.

In spite of the of the massive hardships that still face the peace process, we believe that the peace to which all the peoples of the [Middle East] region aspire can still be realised, if reason prevails, greed fades and hope overcomes frustration and despair among the Palestinian people.

I find it appropriate to reiterate the advice to Israel not to waste the current historic opportunity to end the conflict and fighting and enter a new stage. During that stage, the peoples of the region would focus on facing the challenges of development and progress, like all other nations and peoples, and mobilise the efforts of their sons for their mutual benefit, instead of wasting them on what is of no benefit to anyone.

I say to the people of Israel that the demands of the neighbouring peoples of Arab countries for achieving peace and establishing normal relations have been included in the Arab [peace] initiative, which was endorsed by the Beirut summit.


Israel will gain nothing by hiding behind its demand to change the leadership that was chosen by the Palestinian people of their own will

Those demands are: commitment to the rules of legitimacy and the rule of law; respect for the terms of reference approved by the international community as a basis for settling the conflict, which stipulate Israel's withdrawal from the territories it has occupied since 5 June 1967; discarding illusions of expansion that will lead to nothing as they are incompatible with peace and coexistence; and respect for the right of all peoples of the region of a safe stable life.

Palestinian leadership

Israel will gain nothing by hiding behind its demand to change the leadership that was chosen by the Palestinian people of their own will; by insisting on occupying lands; shedding blood; demolishing houses and blocking roads. All that can result from this policy is the rise of the powers of extremism above the voices of moderation, and the loss of trust of the new generations in the Arab world.

Gaddafi in uniform
The Libyan leader was invited to the celebrations
Israel will gain nothing from these policies but sowing hatred in the hearts and escalating animosity and extremism. Accordingly, it would do well to withdraw its forces from the cities and areas which it occupied, end its storming and closure of Palestinian territories and other oppressive practices, and, instead, to start serious political negotiations aimed at establishing the independent Palestinian sovereign state that will be the best guarantee for peace, security and stability...

The future

We have to make way for young leaderships to assume their responsibilities and take part in leading the national action in this critical stage in the history of the world and the Middle East region.

Graduate sons, today you begin the most honourable mission and the noblest of messages: defending the homeland and its sons, repelling any evil aggression on glorious Egypt's rights...

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

See also:

16 May 02 | Country profiles
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