Arab governments and leaders welcomed on Sunday the election of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Mursi as Egypt’s first president following the ouster of Hosni Mubarak.
But in Israel, which has a 1979 peace treaty with Egypt, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s spokesman, Mark Regev, said his office was “not saying anything at this stage.”
There was celebratory gunfire in the Gaza Strip, which borders Egypt and is ruled by Hamas which has its roots in the Brotherhood and close ties with it.
Senior Hamas official Mahmud Zahar told AFP the victory was “a historic moment and a new era in the history of Egypt,” as Gazans cheered and fired volleys of celebratory gunfire in the streets of the coastal enclave.
Zahar called Mursi’s victory “a defeat for the program of normalization and security cooperation with the enemy,” referring to Israel.
The Palestinian Authority also congratulated Egypt’s president-elect.
“We congratulate Doctor Mohamed Mursi, the Muslim Brotherhood candidate, on his win in the Egyptian presidential elections, and his election as president of Egypt,” Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat told AFP.
The Palestinians have closely watched Egypt’s post-uprising transition, with Hamas hailing the rise of its traditional ally the Muslim Brotherhood, which also won a majority in Egypt’s parliamentary elections.
The United Arab Emirates likewise welcomed Mursi’s victory, urging “stability” in the north African nation, which is the Arab world’s most populous, state news agency WAM reported.
The UAE, “welcomes the results of presidential elections (there) and respects the choice of the brotherly Egyptian people in their track of democracy,” said a foreign ministry statement carried by WAM.
The Gulf state “hopes all efforts to combine now towards securing stability, harmony, and cooperation among all parties ... to fulfill the aspirations of the Egyptian people,” it said.
Becoming Egypt’s first post-uprising president, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mursi won 51.73 percent of the vote, defeating Ahmed Shafiq, who was toppled strongman Hosni Mubarak’s last premier.