Sisi to PBS: Egypt developing a great deal despite challenges
Tuesday، 20 September 2016 - 01:19 PM
President Abdel Fattah El Sisi said Egypt is developing a great deal despite the challenges ahead, referring to progress reached in many fields over the past few years.
In an interview with Charlie Rose on PBS, the Egyptian president voiced hope that Egypt would restore its right place and reach development and prosperity for entire Egyptian people. Egypt is a large country with a population of 90 million who wish to live in peace and security, he said, adding that Egypt is committed to the law and deals with all issues within a legal framework.
It is necessary to reach a balance between security and stability particularly in a restive region, Sisi said, pointing to incidents that occurred during the past couple of days which had an impact on security and stability in the American society.
Regardless of their perpetrators, there was a bad influence and the security forces shouldered the responsibility of protecting the citizens, as the case everywhere around the world, Sisi added.
Terrorism is the most dangerous threat that faces not only Egypt but the entire world, he said, underlining the need to adopt a comprehensive strategy to confront terror that does not depend on the security aspect alone but rather covers various domains including the economy, culture, science and sound religious rhetoric.
The situation in Sinai has considerably improved compared with previous conditions. The terrorist attacks are only between one and two percent of what was going on in the peninsula, the Egyptian president said.
Sisi asserted the Egyptian people wanted a change on January 25, 2011 and on June 30, 2013 they wanted to correct the path of the revolution.
Egypt's new constitution does not allow the president to even stay an extra day after the end of his term, he added.
When the presidential elections are held by mid-2018, the president will be either re-elected or the people will elect a new one, which in itself is a big change in Egypt's political arena, he told Charlie Rose.
Referring to attempts to exploit Islam, he said some people adopt a specific ideology to enlist elements to carry out acts of terror, violence and killings.
With their possession of arms, these extremists have destroyed countries such as Syria, Libya, Somalia and Afghanistan, he said.
He called for concerting all efforts to confront the extremist ideology as a whole and not just one group.
Egypt is a major force in achieving stability in the Middle East and any destabilization of Egypt will represent a real threat to the region as a whole, Sisi added.
Sisi Asked about the Egyptian economy, he said terrorism has deprived Egypt of large resources that would have supported the economy, adding that terrorist elements are trying to create instability to weaken the economy which in the end affects the citizens and the country's stability.
Egypt has been facing a fierce war on terror for over three years and provides security along its borders with Libya that stretch more than one 1,000 kilometers as well as its southern borders which requires enormous efforts and huge resources, Sisi told PBS's Charlie Rose in an interview.
As for the funding program provided by the International Monetary Fund, President Sisi said it will give credibility to the economic reform program adopted by the government.
The increase in population in Egypt amounts to 2.5% annually, which means 2.6 million people every year, while more than 600,000 youth join the labor market every year which requires providing jobs, he said.
Sisi referred to efforts that aim at fully overcoming unemployment in Egypt which will take time.
The president also stressed the Egyptian government's keenness on increasing economic growth and resolving the foreign currency problem by the end of this year.
As for the issues of human rights and NGOs, President Sisi said the media does not present facts accurately and does not reflect the reality in Egypt either, adding that the media and the press say whatever they want as there are no restrictions. There is no dictator in Egypt, the president stressed.
The government is trying to reach security and stability at the time a group is trying to impose its rules and resort to violence against the state and the Egyptian people, Sisi said.
All issues in Egypt are being dealt with within a legal framework, he said, explaining that the parliament is currently probing a bill on organizing NGOs activities.
Some 40,000 NGOs are operating in Egypt. They provide valuable services to the Egyptian society and contribute to reaching development, he added.
The president referred to a misunderstanding as regards this case to give a bad impression on Egypt, while friends always understand each other especially at times when the region is facing such turbulence and there are extremist groups and other factors that create instability.
These issues should be dealt with very sensitively, Sisi said, stressing keenness on abiding by human rights because in the end he seeks to protect the citizens against injustice.
The President said that some incidents occurred before he assumed power which he tried to settle through a presidential pardon as the case with the Canadian and the Australian journalists, adding that he does not hesitate to correct any violations in conformity with the law and to punish those responsible. This is for his own interest and the best interest of the country, justice and freedoms, he added.
The president said that US Secretary of State John Kerry was handed over, during their meeting, a list of names of released citizens whether through court or by a presidential pardon to inform the US administration of Egypt's keenness on exerting all efforts in this respect. However, there is no media coverage of such efforts, Sisi said.
Asked to address his US counterpart Barack Obama, President Sisi said Egypt is keen on strategic relations with the United States, pointing out to great changes in Egypt and that there is no going back to authoritarianism.
President Sisi asserted in his interview with PBS's Charlie Rose that there is no religious discrimination in Egypt, explaining that all Egyptians have the same rights and same duties. No one is discriminated against in Egypt on a religious basis, he said.
The unified law on building houses of worship, which has been sanctioned by the parliament, was shelved for more than 150 years, Sisi said.
What happened against the Copts was committed by a terrorist group that was responsible for destroying churches before June 30, 2013, he said. However, after this date the restoration of all churches started and will be completed by the end of this year.
The president stressed the need for more society awareness of equality among all Egyptians and respect for each other.
As for efforts to reach a two-state solution between Palestine and Israel, President Sisi said that he always addresses the public opinion in Israel and not just the prime minister because peace can change the face of this region. Establishing a Palestinian state alongside Israel allows for reaching security and stability in the area, Sisi said.
There is a big difference between convincing citizens of the importance of peace and imposing a solution by force.
This can never be effective as convincing them of the need to reach peace. It is necessary to remember that the Palestinian cause has been one of the main reasons for the emergence of terror, the president said, adding that if this issue is resolved this would be a means that could guarantee stability and openness in relations between Israel and the Arab world.
Asked about improvement in Egyptian-Turkish relations, Sisi said this has not taken place yet.
The region has enough conflicts and Egypt is trying to give time and opportunity to others to understand the conditions in the region and inside Egypt, he added.
As for Egyptian-Russian ties, the president said Egypt offered a tender to establish a nuclear energy power plant and many countries submitted their bids and the Russian one was the best.