On Sunday morning, Mohamed ElBaradei, former Vice President for Foreign Affairs, boarded a plane headed to Austria three days after submitting his resignation in protest of the violent crackdown on Cairo’s two main pro-Morsi sit-ins.
ElBaradei declined to give interviews at the airport, leaving question marks around the reason behind his departure and whether or not he will return.
ElBaradei had arrived at the airport minutes before his plane was scheduled to take off, Al-Ahram reported, but stayed in his car after he learnt that it was slightly delayed. He then headed to the terminal from which his plane took off, the newspaper reported.
Since he left office, ElBaradei has kept a low profile, not giving the public much information apart from his resignation letter.
In the letter, he expressed how it had become difficult to take “responsibility for decisions that I don’t agree with and the consequences of which I fear, and I can’t bear responsibility for one drop of blood in front of God, my conscience, and the people, especially as I believe that it could have been avoided.”
ElBaradei also wrote that he had suggested peaceful solutions to end the state of tension and reach national reconciliation, but that matters took a difficult and costly turn.
Ever since his resignation, ElBaradei has become victim to accusations of “jumping ship” and of being a traitor and agent for foreign interests. His resignation, many argued, could further fuel international criticism of the use of force against protesters.
In a television appearance on Saturday night, Wafd Party chairman Al-Sayed al-Badawy said he had spoken with ElBaradei over the phone on Friday, who told him that he was against the forcible dispersal of the sit-ins.
Badawy said that ElBaradei had objected to the use of force in meetings with the National Defense Council.
While Badawy said ElBaradei’s stance came as a surprise to him, he wouldn’t go as far as accusing him of being a “traitor.”
During his month in office, news was leaked of disagreements between ElBaradei and other members of the Cabinet over the crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood. ElBaradei repeatedly reiterated that he rejects resorting to violence.
This was ElBaradei’s first official post after having become a prominent opposition figure in the Egyptian political scene in 2010. After announcing his bid for presidency last year, he withdrew from the race before the elections, saying that he disagreed with the roadmap and could not find enough guarantees for the elections’ integrity.