Second part of Sisi inteview with chief editors of three daily newspapers
Thursday، 19 January 2017 - 02:53 PM
Answering a question on his visit to the Orthodox Cathedral on Christmas, the president said his visit to the church was aimed at greeting the Egyptian Copts on their feast. As for renovating churches that were damaged in terrorist attacks, the president said that this was the least thing to be offered to the Copts of Egypt after the harm they had suffered.
Answering a question on renewing the religious discourse, the president said he hoped for more to be achieved on this score.
Regarding fighting terrorism, president Sisi noted that the war against terrorism is fierce and not less than conventional wars. It is even fiercer, he explained, noting that even though, the Armed Forces and police are achieving marked progress in this regard. "Our methods in fighting terrorism are changing with the change of methods adopted by the terrorist groups", he added.
Answering a question on launching the southern Egyptian fleet, the president said that there is a vacuum in the Arab national security that has encouraged some extremist organizations, in cooperation with regional powers, to seek filling in this vacuum.
“Therefore our efforts should cope with the magnitude of challenges to fill in this vacuum and attain a balance of powers”, the president explained. The southern fleet is concerned with the Red Sea starting with Bab el-Mandab Strait to northern Port Said city, he said, adding that this area should be “under our control”.
President Sisi said “the Egyptian people should be reassured that their Armed Forces are capable of protecting our territories and the Arab national security. We are not in confrontation with anybody. We have our own principles that we do not threaten anybody. We do not have any ambitions and we are not dragged into any risks”, added the president.
The president noted that nobody is above the law. He was answering a question about fighting corruption.
The government is adamant in fighting corruption, said the president, adding that nobody has “a feather on his head”. All legal measures are taken against anybody who is proven guilty in any corruption case, said the president.
As for the revolution, the president said it has its pros and cons. The revolution has actually led to some gains but in the meantime it has its subsequent challenges, added the president, noting that “We have to accept both aspects”.
One of the major gains of the revolution is that the president could not remain in his post one day after his term in office comes to an end according to the constitution. This is a major change in our political life, the president pointed out.
President Sisi also took up the issue of dialogue with youth; noting that it is a top priority for him in the coming phase. The second monthly youth conference will be held by the end of this month, said the president.
He noted that the file of the held young people is being handled very well and the committee formed to assess the release of jailed youths would send the second list of pardoned young people after making all necessary assessment of their cases.
Sisi went on to say that costs of upgrading as many as 2,800 to 2,900 community centers reached two billion pounds and that the State encourages the role of the Youth Ministry in supporting young people and sports and choose the best elements that could join various sport competitions and world championships.
Concerning education, Sisi said education is a key element to building the Egyptian personality, noting that the education process needs several years to achieve the aspired-for development regarding curricula, human aspect and installations.
Sisi revealed that preparations are underway to hold a national education conference to address the problems of education in Egypt. He also asserted that all preparations have been finalized to announce a new presidential program to qualify cadres for leading positions. The program will be announced in February with 200 cadres from various State departments joining it for a period of nine months to receive training on the positions of governors and ministerial posts.
The president warned of overpopulation which constitutes a big burden on the Egyptian economy and should be contained so as people could feel the fruits of development and not squander national resources without achieving any objectives.
Sisi also touched on Egypt’s foreign policy and its international relations as well as Arab and African issues. Regarding relations with the US, he asserted that Egypt’s relations with the US in general are “strong and deeply-rooted” and would enjoy more understanding and cooperation in the era of President Donald Trump.
Some files need more understanding and cooperation between Cairo and Washington such as the Palestinian issue. He also noted that fighting terrorism would need an exchange of expertise and information, adding that the coming phase would see more coordination with the US in this regard given the fact that there have been good indicators of an American appreciation of Egypt’s key role in the region.
As for relations with Russia, Sisi reiterated that Egypt established deeply-rooted relations with Russia that have been progressing over the past phase. He noted that there is a common understanding and appreciation between him and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The president said the final agreement between Egypt and Russia on establishing Dhaba nuclear plant will be announced soon after all technical measures and contracts have been finalized.
Concerning Egypt’s relations with European countries, Sisi said Cairo has enhanced over the past two years its relations with Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Portugal as well as Greece and Cyprus. Consultations also continued with leaders of the European countries especially over fighting terrorism, illegal migration and boosting economic and trade cooperation.
President Sisi added that the European countries are very much convinced of the importance of cooperating and coordinating with Egypt in several domains especially fighting terrorism. He added that German Chancellor Angela Merkel will visit Egypt in the first quarter of this year.
The president also touched on several Arab issues atop of which were the Syrian crisis and the situation in Libya. He underlined in this regard his keenness on the unity and cohesion of the Arab countries.
As for the Syrian crisis, the president said that the Egyptian stance on this score is inalienable. Egypt is seeking to end the immense suffering of the Syrian people, the president pointed out.
Regarding the conditions in Libya, the president asserted that Egypt is seeking to maintain the unity of Libya and achieving the will of the Libyan people. He held that the way out of the Libyan crisis is supporting the national army to be able to fight terrorism and protect the Libyan people while defending legitimacy.
The president touched on relations with Saudi Arabia; noting that Egypt is keen on maintaining its strong and time-honored relations with its sisterly Arab countries, said the president. He added that “our security is associated with our unity and solidarity. And now is high time for solidarity”.
Answering a question on recent Ethiopian statements that Egypt is supporting Ethiopian opposition, the president said that Egypt does not interfere in the internal affairs of other countries and does not conspire against anybody.
Egypt is keen on having good relations with Ethiopia and is keen to maintain these relations, he added.