Amr Moussa

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Amr Moussa
عمرو موسى
Amr Moussa at the 37th G8 Summit in Deauville 054.jpg
6th Secretary-General of the Arab League
In office
1 June 2001 – 1 June 2011
Preceded byAhmed Abdel-Meguid
Succeeded byNabil Elaraby
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
20 May 1991 – 15 May 2001
Prime MinisterAtef Sedki
Kamal Ganzouri
Atef Ebeid
Preceded byAhmed Asmat Abdel-Meguid
Succeeded byAhmed Maher
Egyptian Ambassador to the United Nations
In office
1 January 1990 – 20 May 1991
PresidentHosni Mubarak
Preceded byAhmed Aboul Gheit
Succeeded byNabil Elaraby
Personal details
Amr Mouhammed Moussa Abu-Zeid

(1936-10-03) 3 October 1936 (age 82)
Cairo, Egypt
Political partyConference Party[1]
Spouse(s)Leila Moussa
  • Hazem Moussa
  • Hania Moussa
Alma materCairo University

Amr Moussa (Arabic: عمرو محمد موسى‎, IPA: [ˈʕɑmɾe mæˈħæmmæd ˈmuːsæ], Amr Muhammad Moussa; born 3 October 1936) is an Egyptian politician and diplomat who was the Secretary-General of the Arab League, a 22-member forum representing Arab states, from 1 June 2001 to 1 June 2011. Previously he served in the government of Egypt as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1991 to 2001. On 8 September 2013, he was elected president of the committee of 50 that will amend the Egyptian constitution.[2]

Early life[edit]

He was born on 3 October 1936 in Cairo, Egypt, the son of former parliamentarian Muhammad Moussa. His father also had a son named Pierre during his studies in France in the 1920s. However, Moussa's half-brother Pierre is a French citizen and has no ties to Egypt.[3]

Moussa finished his education after earning a degree in law from Cairo University in 1957.[citation needed]

Diplomatic career[edit]

Moussa then began his diplomatic career between 1958 and 1972 he worked in several missions, including Egypt's Embassy in Switzerland and the Egyptian mission to the United Nations. From 1974 to 1977 he was an advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. From 1977 to 1981 and again from 1983 to 1990, he was the Director of the Department of International Organizations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. From 1981 to 1983, Moussa was the Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, then from 1983 to 1986 Ambassador to India.[4] In 1990, he was promoted Permanent Representative of Egypt to the United Nations. He was named Minister of Foreign Affairs by Prime Minister Atef Sedki on 20 May 1991. He was minister until 15 May 2001 when he was elected as Secretary-General of the Arab League.

Moussa has been heavily involved with Egypt's foreign policy since 1958. He was Egypt's ambassador to the United Nations, India, and Switzerland for a total of 21 years. Moussa was among the many Arab and international diplomats who tried to resolve the Lebanese Civil War (1975–1990). After serving as Egypt's Foreign Minister from 1991 to 2001, he served as the Secretary General of the Arab League.[5] Moussa has been an extremely popular political figure in Egypt due to his criticism of Israeli policies towards Gaza and the West Bank.[6] At the Forum for New Diplomacy in February 2010, Moussa gave a speech in which he criticized the U.S. government's double standard supporting Israel's nuclear weapons policy but not allowing Iran to pursue nuclear energy. He also criticized Western countries, including the U.S., for not recognizing the results of the 2006 Palestinian election that brought Hamas into power.[7] Like Mohamed El-Baradei and the Muslim Brotherhood, he supports opening the Gaza Strip/Egypt border.[7] His criticisms have made Moussa extremely popular.[citation needed]

Secretary-General of the Arab League[edit]

On 15 May 2001, Moussa was selected as Secretary-General of the League of Arab States and took office on 1 June 2001. Critics of former-President Hosni Mubarak allege that Moussa's appointment to the office of Secretary-General of the Arab League was motivated by Mubarak's desire to remove him from the public spotlight, and so he would not compete as a candidate in the 2005 presidential elections.[citation needed]

On 2003, he became a member of the United Nations High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change for International Peace and Security.[citation needed]

On 2009, he signed a memorandum of understanding with the Holy See and met with Pope Benedict XVI in order to strengthen joint projects and to promote peace and dialogue on a cultural and political level.[8]

On 13 June 2010, Moussa visited Gaza in a move to pressure Israel to lift its economic blockade over Hamas-ruled Gaza.[9] The visit by Moussa was the first by an official of the Arab League since the election of Hamas in 2007. Immediately after the Gaza flotilla raid, Moussa said the Arab League would go to the UN Security Council to demand the blockade be lifted. On 15 May 2011, Nabil Elaraby was elected as Secretary-General of the Arab League and succeeded Moussa on 1 July 2011.[10]

Possible presidential candidacies[edit]

Moussa during the World Economic Forum 2013

2005 presidential election[edit]

In 2004 an online community gathered tens of thousands of signatures petitioning for Moussa to run in the 2005 elections, but there was no response. In a Doha Debate Forum televised by the BBC in 2006,[11] Moussa was asked about his presidential hopes. Moussa merely replied that he hoped to continue the recent run of successes that have occurred under his leadership at the Arab League until the end of his term.[citation needed]

2012 presidential election[edit]

When asked in October 2009 about rumours that he might run for the presidency in 2012, Moussa did not deny his intention to run for office or rule it out, leaving the door open to speculations. He argued that "It's the right of every citizen that has the capacity and efficiency to aspire to any political office that would allow him to contribute to the service of his nation".[12] He further stated to the press that the qualities required to be the President of Egypt also apply to Gamal Mubarak, son of Hosni Mubarak.[13] He also expressed appreciation "for the confidence expressed by many people when they talk about his candidacy for the presidency and that the message reached him".[14]

Moussa held talks with Mohamed El-Baradei after his return to Egypt. Many[who?] speculate that this meeting was held to discuss Constitutional reforms that will allow transparency in the election process as well as lifting restrictions on independent candidates. On 26 January 2011, at the Annual Horasis meeting in Zurich, Moussa shared strong views on the need for economic and political reforms in Egypt, and made it clear that he was considering a run.[15]

On 1 February 2011, following the announcement by President Hosni Mubarak that he would not stand in the upcoming presidential elections, Moussa told CNN that he would seriously think about standing himself as a candidate in the next few weeks.[16] On the 8 February broadcast of Al Jazeera English's Empire, well-connected American journalist Seymour Hersh stated that Moussa was considered the U.S.'s favored "Plan B" should Mubarak resign, "whether he knows it or not."[17] On 11 February 2011, Al Jazeera English Online read from a Reuters report that stated Moussa was resigning from his position with the Arab League; on the day that President Mubarak resigned the presidency this furthered rumours he might make a strong bid for president when elections are announced in Egypt.[citation needed] On 12 February 2011, the Egyptian daily newspaper Alwafd reported that a group of Egyptian youth met with Moussa to discuss a possible nomination for the presidential election. Moussa reportedly agreed to the nomination, but stated that he would await the currently proposed constitutional reforms.[18]

Amr Moussa announced that he would be running as a presidential candidate on 1 March 2011.[19]

A poll conducted during the 2011 protests asking "who do you think should be the next President of Egypt?" showed Moussa in the lead, with 26% of respondents naming him.[20]

Moussa placed fifth in the election with 11.13% of the first round vote. After the election, he formed the Conference Party with which a number of smaller opposition parties aligned.


Although credited with shaking up the Arab League's bureaucracy,[21] Moussa has been criticized by former and current staff members of the Arab League for his management of the organization. In his book, The League of the Arab States: what’s left of it, former Arab League and Syrian diplomat Kawkab Najib El Rayess accused Moussa of favoritism and promoting his loyalists into the high ranks of the Arab League at the expense of the more-qualified diplomats.[22]


Egyptian national honours[edit]

Ribbon bar Honour
EGY Order of the Nile - Grand Cordon BAR.png Grand Collar of the Order of the Nile
EGY Order of the Republic - Grand Cordon BAR.png Grand Cordon of the Order of the Arab Republic of Egypt

Foreign honors[edit]

Ribbon bar Country Honour
ARG Order of the Liberator San Martin - Grand Cross BAR.png  Argentina Grand Cross of the Order of the Liberator General San Martín
BRA Order of the Southern Cross - Grand Cross BAR.png  Brazil Grand Cross of the Order of the Southern Cross
National Order of Merit-Grand Cross (Ecuador) - ribbon bar.gif  Ecuador Grand Cross of National Order of Merit
GER Bundesverdienstkreuz 6 GrVK Stern Band.svg  Germany Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany
Chain of Honor Sudan.png  Sudan Grand Cordon of the National Order of El-Nilein
Order of the Republic (Tunisia) - ribbon bar.gif  Tunisia Grand Officer of the Order of the Republic of Tunisia


  • (in Arabic) Memoirs. 1: The Formation and the years of Diplomacy (كتابية : النشأة و سنوات الدبلوماسية‎), ed. Dar al-Chorouq, Cairo, 2017[23]


  1. ^ "'Civil' powers unite to form 'Conference Party'". Egypt Independent. 18 September 2012. Retrieved 18 September 2012.
  2. ^ "Egypt liberals tighten grip on constitution drafting". Ahram Online. 8 September 2013. Retrieved 9 September 2013.
  3. ^ Amr Moussa: No, I don’t have an Israeli half-brother, Times of Israel, by Elhanan Miller, dated 6 April 2012.
  4. ^ Phelps, Timothy M. (17 February 2011). "Diplomat seen as a solid leader, but too old to be Egypt's president". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 7 December 2012.
  5. ^ United, Nations (4 March 2011). "Biography of Amre Mahmoud Moussa" (PDF). United Nations.
  6. ^ "Profile: Amre Moussa". BBC. 23 January 2002.
  7. ^ a b Seale, Patrick (5 February 2010). "An Arab Voice". The New York Times.
  8. ^ Wooden, Cindy (23 April 2009). "Vatican, Arab League sign new agreement to promote peace, dialogue". Catholic News. Retrieved 2 February 2011.
  9. ^ Tim Franks (13 June 2010). "Arab League chief Amr Moussa in first visit to Gaza". BBC. Retrieved 2 February 2011.
  10. ^ "Arab League, BBC". BBC. 5 November 2013. Retrieved 3 May 2014.</
  11. ^ "What the media say about the Doha debates". Archived from the original on 16 May 2008. Retrieved 2006-11-04.
  12. ^ "Amr Moussa opened the way for speculation about his candidacy for the presidency of Egypt". CNN Arabic. 20 October 2009. Archived from the original on 7 March 2011. Retrieved 2 February 2011.
  13. ^ "Amr Moussa did not rule out running for the presidency of Egypt". Reuters Arabia. 20 October 2009. Retrieved 2 February 2011.
  14. ^ Amr Mousa to (Al-Shorouk): Every qualified citizen has the right to aspire to serve the country and become the president.
  15. ^ Frank-Jurgen Richter. "Horasis Annual Meeting" (PDF). Retrieved 30 November 2011.
  16. ^ Weaver, Matthew (1 February 2011). "Egypt protests". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 1 February 2011. Retrieved 2 February 2011.
  17. ^ Hersh, Seymour (8 February 2011). "Empire". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 8 February 2011.
  18. ^ ثوار يلتقون موسى وزويل لبحث"الرئاسة". Alwafd
  19. ^ Badawi, Rania (1 March 2011). "Moussa To Run For President, Will Announce Election Platform Soon". Al-Masry Al-Youm.
  20. ^ "Phone Survey of Cairo and Alexandria", Scribd Middle East Polls Archived 13 March 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Scribd, Retrieved 25 May 2012.
  21. ^ Moran, Michael (20 October 2005). "The Arab League and Iraq". Council on Foreign Relations. Archived from the original on 2 April 2010. Retrieved 2 February 2011.
  22. ^ Nasrawi, Saif (15 July 2013). "Egypt's opposition divided over counter-attack strategy". Egypt Independent. Retrieved 15 July 2013.
  23. ^ "A diplomat remembers: The memoirs of Amr Moussa". 16 September 2017.

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Ahmed Aboul Gheit
Egyptian Ambassador to the United Nations
Succeeded by
Nabil Elaraby
Preceded by
Ahmed Asmat Abdel-Meguid
Secretary-General of the Arab League
Political offices
Preceded by
Ahmed Asmat Abdel-Meguid
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Ahmed Maher