President Sisi's interview to Al Ahram, Al Akhbar, Al Gumhuriya
Saturday، 15 October 2016 - 12:00 AM
President Abdel Fattah El Sisi asserted that the Egyptian Army is able to protect and defend Egypt against any threats to security and stability of the country and the Arab Gulf countries.
Sisi said the Armed Forces are going ahead very well with its development plan which they started more than three years ago.
The Egyptian Army continues its policy of possessing arms from different sources, the President told the editors-in-chief of Al Ahram, Al Akhbar and Al Gumhuriya daily newspapers in an interview published on Saturday 15/10/2016.
The President stressed that the Egyptian Army is capable of protecting the country's borders.
He said that Egypt has a strong determination to eradicate terrorism, which became a phenomenon that threatened the world countries, stressing the necessity of the international community's cooperation to fight this plight.
The security situation in Sinai is improving, Sisi said, adding that counter-terrorism efforts exerted are tireless and constant.
"The war against this plight will be long as terrorists are developing themselves", the President said.
As for the internal situation, the president said Egypt is enjoying a high degree of security and stability, thanks to the awareness of the Egyptian people and State institutions.
He warned that any malicious attempts by the evil people to play havoc with the security and stability of the nation will be doomed.
The President attributed the stable security conditions in the country to the people's awareness and efforts exerted by the Interior Ministry and Armed Forces.
President Sisi said Egypt is passing through a stage of economic reform, underlining that the reform measures are important and necessary and they should have been taken long time ago.
He called for bearing the burden of the economic reform measures taken by the government until Egypt finds a way out of the bottleneck, asserting that the outcome of these measures will be great for the current and coming generations.
"There is no alternative to the reform measures for the future of this country," the President said in the interview.
Sisi assured the Egyptian people that the economic reform measures are accompanied with protective decisions, including taking effective measures to control the markets and prices and securing basic commodities in all outlets across the country.
Sisi criticized some media outlets that tackle issues in an unfair way and based on false information and improper visions that negatively affect the country and its national security. He noted that the role of the media is to raise public awareness.
He also warned of using the social media sites without awareness, saying these websites are used by foreign bodies as platforms to conduct plots to ruin countries.
The President reviewed national projects, including the 1.5 million feddans reclamation project and the new administrative capital.
He said that half a million feddans will be offered this month to investors and any Egyptian youth will have a chance to get 10 feddans with soft loans.
As for the Administrative Capital, the president said it will be completed between five to six years, noting that the first stage of the project will be finalized in 2018.
Asked whether a new investment law is in the pipeline, Sisi said that Investment Minister Dalia Khorshid has been revising the current law since she took office with the aim to introduce amendments that would meet Egypt's needs and attract businesses.
He expected the bill to be finalized and passed into law before the end of 2016.
Asked about his recent statements about the army's ability to deploy in the country within six hours, Sisi said he was stressing the readiness and ability of the Armed Forces to protect the borders of Egypt from Alexandria to the southern frontiers and from Rafah to the western boundaries.
Commenting on protest calls that keep popping up, the latest of which slated for November 11, Sisi said he is confident the Egyptian people are well aware of what is going on, believing that all attempts by the people of evil will fail.
In fact the Egyptian people are credited with a great part of the stable security atmosphere and not just the Interior Ministry and Armed Forces, Sisi noted.
"That is why all such attempts will fail," the President asserted.
President El Sisi said Egypt's foreign policy is moderate, balanced and independent, pointing out that Egypt sets an example in international relations.
Egypt's foreign policy has one face and does not interfere in other countries' affairs and that is what makes the country's relations with the world strong, the President said.
The President tackled a number of international, regional and local issues and the principles of Egypt's foreign policy.
Making reference to the Palestinian cause, President Sisi said the issue of peace will remain the most important and dangerous one to the future of the region. Throughout the years, Egypt has given the Palestinian issue top priority in its foreign policy, the president said, adding that Egypt exerts great efforts to push forward the peace process.
The President said he urged the Palestinian and Israeli leaderships to revive the peace process. He added that during the UN General Assembly meetings in New York, he sent a direct message to the Israeli people and leadership to start confidence-building measures and to join negotiations in order to reach a peace agreement on the establishment of an independent Palestinian State alongside Israel.
"In this interview, I am repeating this call for ending the dispute and establishing peace. We will continue to play a key and pivotal role in the peace issue and seek to reach inter-Palestinian reconciliation and unify stances", the President said.
As for the Syrian crisis, the president said Egypt's stance regarding Syria was clear at the UN Security Council. Egypt's vote went to the French-Spanish resolution and the Russian resolution last week and this was not a contradictory stance, he said. The common factor in the two resolutions was that they called for a ceasefire and the entry of humanitarian aid to the Syrian people and this is the important thing to the Egyptian State and people, he added.
This was the basis of Egypt's support to these two resolutions regardless of who sponsor them, the president said.
The President spoke about what some quarters considered as a crisis in relations with Saudi Arabia that erupted following Egypt's voting on the two resolutions and then Saudi ARAMCO Company stopped sending shipments of petroleum products upon a signed contract, saying the issue needs more coordination between Egypt and our brothers in the Saudi kingdom in order to clear things up.
The shipment is part of a trade agreement signed during a visit to Egypt by Saudi King Salman Ben Abdel Aziz in April, adding that we do not want to get things out of proportion. Egyptian-Saudi relations are strategic.
The President expressed thanks and full appreciation to "our brothers in Saudi Arabia" for what they have done to Egypt over the past period.
President Sisi asserted that Egypt's affiliation to Africa and its relations with other African nations is a main pillar of the Egyptian foreign policy, adding that since he assumed power he has been keen on participating in the African Union summits.
Egypt exerts great efforts in the African Peace and Security Committee, which it chairs, and the committee on climate change, which it also chairs, the President said, adding that Egypt was a loud and effective voice for Africa at the Paris Climate Change Conference.
Egypt's strong relations with the majority of world nations makes some countries angry and they wish to isolate Egypt and even seek to ruin its relations with Europe, the Gulf and Africa including Ethiopia, the President said.
Egypt enjoys good relations with Ethiopia based on mutual respect and non-interference in each other's affairs, he said, deploring attempts to create a crisis between Egypt and Ethiopia through spreading lies that Egypt is plotting against Ethiopia. The Egyptian policy has only one face, he said, stressing that Egypt did not and will not interfere in the affairs of any State and can never conspire against any country. I never join hands with anyone and then plot against him, he pointed out.
As I said before the Ethiopian Parliament, there are two options, either cooperation or confrontation and we have chosen cooperation, he said.
President Sisi spoke about domestic affairs and his concern with Egyptian youth, saying young people will remain among my priorities. He referred to the Egyptian youth conference that will be held in Sharm El Sheikh within days.
The youth conference will include open dialogues with representatives of various political currents and various segments of the society as well as workshops on all issues, he said, pointing out that 3,000 youths will be taking part in the event.
Regarding combating corruption, the president said the country does not tolerate with corruption at all and that he strongly supports the State bodies concerned with confronting and fighting corruption. Egypt's position on the world corruption index jumped eight points from 96 to 88, he said.
Speaking about warnings issued by the embassies of the US, UK and Canada to their nationals in Egypt that a terrorist attack would take place on October 9, President El Sisi told that contacts were held with these embassies to see the reasons behind such security alerts but they informed us that they were just security precautions.
As for the resumption of Russian flights to Egypt, Sisi termed as strong and distinguished Egypt's relations with Russia, saying the bodies concerned in both countries are maintaining contacts as regards the resumption of flights.
He voiced hope that Russian flights to Egypt would be resumed as quickly as possible.
Russia suspended flights to Egypt after the October 31 crash of a Russian plane in Sinai with 224 people on board.
Sisi denied media reports about the establishment of foreign military bases on Egyptian territories, saying these are groundless reports.
There will never be a military base of Russia or any other country on Egyptian lands, Sisi said.
Some media outlets have spoken of the construction of a Russian air base in Sidi Barani, located near Egypt’s Mediterranean coast line.
About home issues, Sisi stressed that war against corruption is going on, saying we will never cover up for any corrupt.
He added that he still believes that Prime Minister Sherif Ismail is the most competent man to assume the post, saying this man is working during a critical stage that is full of challenges.
In figures, Sisi said State revenues in the 2016/2017 budget hit 670 billion pounds against 974 billion pounds in spending.
If we continue like this, we will not be able to meet our basic needs in the future, so we need reforms to increase revenues and cut down spending, he said.
The President stressed that reforms are much needed now for a better future. We want reforms but at the same time we will do our best so that subsidies would reach the needy.
At the end, Sisi warned that overpopulation is still a serious challenge to development. We need to increase economic growth to over 7.2 per cent annually so that the citizens would feel a progress.