15 MARCH 2011


The name says it all. In Arabic, it means a man with a noble character. Those who have known and dealt with Nabil El-Araby over the years know that he is noble, honest and beyond all that, very competent. The newly-appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs of Egypt, was not only nominated by the coalition of youth who coordinated a historically successful peaceful revolution, but also by unanimous consensus amongst the Egyptian foreign policy solid establishment. He had served as his country's Permanent Representative to the U.N. in New York and elected unanimously as a Judge at the International Court of Justice, the highest honour for any legal internationalist. His enlightened devotion for Egypt sovereignty was displayed during his role as a negotiating team member during the Camp David accord. His professional brilliance was overwhelmingly evident during the successful arbitration over Taba in the Sharm el-Sheikh border region between Egypt and Israel. His dignified response to occasional outbursts by President Sadat during a very delicate period gained him added credibility. His balanced presentation of urgent policy issues during President Mubarak's rule reflected a perceptive mind sharply focused first and foremost on the national security of his great country.

During Nabil El-Araby's work at the U.N. in varied capacities, he consistently highlighted the close relationship between his country, a founding U.N. member, and the shared objects with its principles and objectives. Even during the recent period of upheaval, his straight thinking remained on target. During a recent "democracy forum" in Cairo, he pointed out three main loopholes: lack of real separation of powers, lack of transparency, and lack of judicial independence. While Egypt is currently passing through an upheaval in the current "constitutional vacuum," the transitional period will not -- and could not -- resolve all pending issues. What it can do, however, is "to prepare us to be in a position and a place from which we can move forward."

Now that Nabil El-Araby is the Foreign Minister of a revived Egypt, it is sincerely hoped by the multitude of friends whom he accumulated worldwide over years of unflinching dedication and outstanding service, that he will help highlight Egypt's formidable potential, nationally, regionally, and internationally. After all, the U.N. is almost like a second home for Egypt.

More to the point, we wish our "noble" Nabil all the best.