Any hope for political reconciliation in Egypt and a halt to the worst violence the country has seen since its 2011 uprising must come from its own leaders, according to Mohamed El-Erian, chief executive officer of Pacific Investment Management Co.
“What you are seeing is the dark side of the political awakening and what has followed,” Pimco Chief Executive Officer El-Erian, the son of a former Egyptian diplomat, said in a radio interview on “Bloomberg Surveillance” with Tom Keene. “It’s very important for people inside Egypt to step up. This is not a situation where people from the outside can come in.”
The death toll from a crackdown by Egypt’s army-backed government on protests by supporters of the ousted president, Mohamed Mursi, rose to more than 500. Members of the country’s Muslim Brotherhood torched government buildings and called for nationwide rallies. President Hosni Mubarak was deposed in the 2011 revolution, and the army removed Mursi, an Islamist, from office July 3. Diplomatic efforts by the U.S. to persuade the interim government to seek a peaceful resolution have failed.
The confluence of a weak economy, weak political institutions and growing polarization within Egyptian society is fueling the country’s unrest, said El-Erian, a former official at the International Monetary Fund.
“Nations need anchors, and Egypt is having problems because there are no institutions to anchor the process,” the official at Newport Beach, California-based Pimco said. “The immediate future is a very uncertain one.”
Pimco is the world’s biggest manager of bond mutual funds.
El-Erian, who’s fluent in English, French and Arabic, was named head of the U.S. global development council in 2012, created to advise the president on ways to promote economic development and good governance in countries all over the world. He said he hasn’t been called on “recently” to serve in Egypt.
“The Egyptians have to find a way to get over what is a very tragic, dangerous and sad situation,” El-Erian said. For the U.S., he said, “there is a role to be played, but it’s a role where you inform and influence and not a role where you can dictate. That has to come from within Egypt.”
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