23 July 2019 11:57 AM

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s interview with The Associated Press

Monday، 28 September 2015 - 12:00 AM

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi said in an interview with The Associated Press (AP) that the Mideast region needs to cooperate to defeat a worsening terrorist threat that has led to a "ferocious war" in Egypt and created the danger of some countries "sliding into failure."

In a wide-ranging interview with AP, Sisi also said that Syria should not be divided after its civil war and that the Egyptian military needs to be "augmented" to defeat terrorists fighting in Sinai and Western Desert.

Resolving the Palestinian question, he said, could "change the face of the region and bring about enormous improvement to the situation. ... I'm optimistic by nature and I say that there is a great opportunity."

Sisi spoke with the AP at a New York hotel on Saturday night after he addressed a U.N. Summit that adopted new development goals for the next 15 years. He will also attend the annual ministerial meeting of the General Assembly at UN headquarters.

President Sisi said he is open to clemency to journalists who have been tried and convicted in absentia. But he said he would only act within his powers as president and would also respect the prerogatives of Egypt's judiciary.

"Rest assured that we are always keen on sorting out issues and problems, especially those that relate to journalists and to the media people," he added. The last two years were a real test of the endurance and strength" of the ties with the US, Sisi said.

Sisi said "The problem with the Muslim Brotherhood is not a problem between the government of Egypt and these people. The real problem is between the Egyptian people and the Muslim Brotherhood."  He said the Brotherhood has given "a very bad impression" and Egyptians "are not able to forgive or forget."

The Egyptian military, he said, "has always been a factor for stability" and should be strengthened because it faces "a ferocious war against terrorism and extremism.

Increasing the military capability of the Egyptian army means that it can strike a strategic balance for the region. Referring to the civil war that has shattered Syria, the president said "we are very keen that Syria remains as a nation and as a State and does not divide into smaller states.

He warned that the collapse of Syria would mean that all its weapons and equipment would fall into the hands of terrorists. If that happens, he said, the danger will not only hurt Syria but spill over to its neighbors and will pose a serious threat to the rest of the region, and this is what we fear.


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