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Sisi to CNN: Counter-terrorism is new element of US aid program to Egypt

Monday، 26 September 2016 - 01:19 PM

President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has been interviewed by CNN during his recent trip to New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly meetings.


In the interview which was aired on Saturday 24/9/2016, Sisi thanked the US people and the US TV network for giving him the chance to review the conditions in the region.


Sisi said that counter-terrorism is a new element of the US aid program to Egypt, noting that there are military committees that determine Cairo's needs to achieve security and stability.


Regarding his view on the US presidential candidates; Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, the president said that Donald Trump would "no doubt" make a strong leader.


"During election campaigns, many statements are made and many things are said," noted Sisi. "However, afterward governing the country would be something different".


"During election campaigns there is a perception based on a certain vision and a point of view," Sisi said, adding then "that vision or point of view gets corrected and develops as a result of experience, reports and advice from experts".


About Hillary Clinton, Sisi said "Political parties in the United States would not allow candidates to reach that level unless they are qualified to lead a country of the size of the United States of America".


In his interview with CNN, Sisi said in Egypt there is no chance for any dictatorship because in Egypt there is a Constitution.


There is law, and there is the will of the people which are factors that do not allow any leader to stay in his post longer than his term, which is four years, he said.


Asked whether he plans to run for a second term in office in 2018, the Egyptian president said first he has to succeed in his mission in the first four-year term. There are many challenges in Egypt, he added.


Sisi said he promises the Egyptians to implement economic reforms and address economic crises competently.


The president said he seeks to have subsidy reach poor people and all needy brackets in Egypt.


Both the poor and rich people get subsidy as in subsidized fuel, so the State seeks to set out measures to protect those who deserve it.


Asked about the biggest economic challenge he faces in the meantime, the president replied that it is the population growth which hits 2.5% per year. This requires more housing units, healthcare, education, jobs and food.


As for the Russian passenger plane that crashed in Sinai, Sisi said investigations are being conducted and it is too early to find the cause of the accident. All possibilities are being considered, he said.


He pointed out to the impression that has been accumulated over the past three or four years on instability in Egypt which affected the tourism sector. We will not be calling on tourists or anyone to visit Egypt if there was any danger on their lives, the president said.


He urged countries that need to verify safety measures at Egyptian airports to send committees to check on security procedures applied in the country to safeguard tourists and the various tourist attractions.


The president said that he has reservations on using the term "terrorists" to refer to the Daesh group alone. Terrorists and extremists are not only Daesh. He added that terrorists and extremists are dangerous and use violence, murder and destruction to achieve their goals. Egypt is exerting huge efforts to establish security, he said.


Asked about the size of terrorism in Egypt and the number of terrorists, the president said this question should not be asked to Egypt only but to the whole world. This phenomenon is spreading all over the world.


The world has to be united and international efforts should be exerted to combat terrorism, said the president, adding that if this is not done the world will suffer for several years. There are great challenges in combating terrorism, he noted. The war on terror will last for many years, he said.


The President said he warned two and a half years ago during UN General Assembly meetings, of the risk of using social media and takfiri websites in this war. However, he said, so far, this issue has not been addressed seriously. He urged adopting a strategy to combat this extremist ideology which turns youths into a tool for murder and destruction.


Asked if he thinks that Facebook, Twitter and Google should do more to fight this risk on the Internet, the president asserted the importance of taking such step. This is not a restriction on freedoms because the risk is great, he said.


Asked why he feels that Egypt is being misunderstood about human rights, the president said among the reasons is that when we talk about counter-terrorism and violence there should be tightened security measures, but you can not talk about that and only deal with the matter from a "human rights" perspective.


We appreciate and respect that but we are responsible for the Egyptian people, Sisi said, terming the Egyptian people as his family.


He said counter-terrorism efforts can never be disregarded and focus only on the viewpoint of human rights violations against terrorists.


He added that the military operation against terrorism in Sinai has taken a long time as the State is keen on protecting innocent civilians from any harm. This fact is categorically disregarded by those who talk about human rights violations in Egypt, he said, adding that this is not right.


Sisi said he traveled to the US in 1991 for courses and the security measures then were not tight as there were no security risks, adding that when he visited the US again in 2004 for another mission he noticed tighter and more complicated security measures.


The measures were more strict and complicated compared to those during the 1991 visit, he said, adding that this can be perceived as a decline in respect of human rights in the US, but the US people realize that this is necessary to fight any risks so they accept easily these measures. 

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