Dubai: The UAE has denied an accusation by former Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmad Shafik that he was prevented from traveling from the UAE where he currently resides.
Shafik, who serves as premier under ousted Egyptian President Husni Mubarak, announced his candidacy for next year’s presidential elections in Egypt earlier this week.
The former air force pilot lost the presidential election runoff against the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammad Mursi in 2012.
Appearing on the Qatari-backed Al Jazeera television network from the United Arab Emirates, Shafik said he planned to visit Egyptians living abroad before returning to his homeland, but accused UAE authorities of blocking him from leaving.
The UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Anwar Gargash, responded to the accusation in a series of twitter posts on Wednesday.
“There is nothing to prevent him from returning to Egypt and running in elections,” he wrote.
“The UAE regrets Shafik’s ungratefulness after he fled to the UAE from Egypt in 2012 where he was treated with the uptmost hospitality, despite strong reservations of some of his positions,” he added.
Egyptian President Abdul Fattah Al Sissi, who as military chief removed Mursi from office in mid-2013 after mass protests and won the presidency the following year, said last month he had yet to decie whether to seek a second term.
Few politicians have declared their intention to run; challengers include rights lawyer Khaled Ali.
A general conference is slated for December 23 to discuss elections and formally announce candidates.