Egypt's new military leader feared political reform could 'erode central govt. power': Wikileaks

Cairo, Feb 16 (ANI): Field Marshal Mohamad Tantawi, the head of the Higher Military Council that took control of Egypt last week, had opposed political reform because he believed that it 'eroded central government power,' the whistleblower Wikileaks has revealed.

The Telegraph quoted the secret US diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks as saying that the military leader charged with transforming Egypt was also against economic reforms because he felt they create "social instability".

"Tantawi has opposed both economic and political reforms that he perceives as eroding central government power. He is supremely concerned with national unity, and has opposed policy initiatives he views as encouraging political or religious cleavages within Egyptian society," a cable sent from Cairo to Washington in March 2008 had claimed.

"Tantawi believes that Egypt's economic reform plan fosters social instability by lessening GOE government of Egypt controls over prices and production." He also rejected any deals regarding military equipment in return for concessions on human rights policy, the cable added.

The leaked cable also quotes officials as saying that Tantawi's age made him more conservative-minded, describing him as "aged and change-resistant".

"He and Mubarak are focused on regime stability and maintaining the status quo through the end of their time. They simply do not have the energy, inclination or world view to do anything differently," the cable added.

Tantawi took charge as the interim head of the Military Council last week after former President Hosni Mubarak resigned following the political unrest in that country. (ANI)

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