Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on democracy, “Anyone can say from the opposition whatever they want for the sake of the interests of the nation and no one should be afraid of the opposition.” The two also discussed the Arab Spring and more. Highlights from the interview are after the jump; additional parts of the interview will continue to run this week on The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on CNN and CNN International. A full transcript of the program will be available on http://archives.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/sitroom.html.
MANDATORY CREDIT: CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer”
Highlighted Excerpts from Full Interview
THIS IS A RUSH FDCH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
Blitzer: I hear that some prominent Egyptians are being investigated for treason that raises concern about democracy. What's going on that people like this are being investigated for treason?
Morsy: Democracy in Egypt and freedom are abided by and opposition in Egypt is respected and appreciated, for those to express their opinions and their points of view in Egypt now and in Egypt's future and to be a true partner in opinion and vision, effective criticism and constructive criticism. All of this is a right guaranteed for opposition in Egypt. There are some challenges, there are some acts that don't comply with the law that is addressed in the judicial system and the law and the President of the Republic. It is not my right to interfere in what the procedures of the courts and what gets applied to and applied by the law.
Blitzer: and they can criticize you without fear of going to jail?
Morsy: This happens every day. Anyone can say from the opposition whatever they want for the sake of the interests of the nation and no one should be afraid of the opposition.
Blitzer: That is very encouraging, to hear that from you, the president of Egypt. And as a journalist, I want freedom of the press. You want freedom of the press. And there is a case, though, of a satirist, a popular satirist, Osam Yusef, who's also being investigated for supposedly ridiculing you and the government. What's going on with Osam Yusef?
Morsy: whoever criticizes me has the full right to do so, if there are some legal measures and some of the Egyptians file complaints in this respect, this is the issue that gets handled within the judicial system and the courts- not to me.
This is a full-fledged system. And therefore, I welcome any criticism, I welcome every opinion, I welcome every view and I push everyone to work.
Blitzer: But just to tie up this issue, Osam Yusef, Amr Moussa and Mohamed ElBaradei, they don't have to worry about going to jail?
Morsy: They are Egyptians. They are part of my family, from Egypt. There is no way that any harm can befall them because of their opinions or their personal opposition. There is no possible way to talk about or discuss jails or imprisonment as an option because of political involvement, according to the law. There is no possible way to discuss this.
Blitzer: You - you probably saw the "Time" magazine issue where the president of the United States is Person of the Year. But you're not that far behind, because, uh, number four, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy.
Blitzer: And you read the article. - about you. And - and there was an interesting line. And I'll just get your quick reaction to it. "Mohamed Morsy, the power broker, Egypt's new president won kudos abroad and curses at home. What he does next could determine the shape of the Middle East.” What he does next could determine the shape of the Middle East. Do you appreciate the responsibility you have right now?
Morsy: The victory of the Arab Spring and the respect of people's will. This world should realize that the will of people will win over and will prevail. So let's cooperate for the sake of stability and not interfere in the affairs of Egypt and not one would hegemonize the other. Peace for all. Stability, freedom for all within their nation
The Arab Spring will win over. And this area shall civilize. But of course, we can't work in isolation from the world. We love this world and we want to live in peace. We'll work on that. And the will of people from the region shall prevail and win over in the near future, inshallah.