Q: Are you worried about the march of Islam across the Middle East? Are you worried about other countries? Are you worried about the phenomenon at all?
A: The phenomenon a bit, but not to the extent as you in the United States. You far away think that everything is black. Not to that extent. In Egypt, we could control everything very perfectly.
Q: \o7 What happens if Algeria's war goes on and on?\f7
A: Algeria will take some time. But my fear is that these people you call Islamic take over, it will lead to national fighting. Isn't that what's happening in Afghanistan now?
I was expecting what happened in Algiers maybe one or two months before it started. They agreed on forming a religious party . . . although their constitution doesn't permit religious parties.
Islam or religion is a very sensitive issue. If I made a religious Islamic party, and you are a Muslim and you don't want to join, oh, you are a traitor. You don't believe in God. You may be eliminated. So our laws don't allow the forming parties on religious basis. Religious parties are very dangerous. Tunisia asked me about that. I told them our law doesn't permit us to give permission for religious parties. They did the same, like Egypt. It's much more stable.
Q: \o7 And yet Morocco's King Hassan, when he was recently here, told the United States that he supported U.S. policy on Algeria, that he thought we were doing the right thing in urging mediation. So you disagree with U.S. strategy?\f7
A: We kept making a dialogue with these people for about 11 years. And during that period, they were growing up, growing up, to the extent that they started to use force. I stopped.
But the king is a neighbor to Algeria. He may understand Algeria better than I.
Q: \o7 Some Western diplomats in Cairo were quoted as saying your government is on the brink of crisis.\f7
A: You could read the report in some newspapers that Egypt is on the verge of crisis, that its economy is not working well. You read another newspaper in France that it says the economy is improving every day. Why do you believe only the one biased newspaper, one biased report?