President Abdel Fattah El Sisi defended Egypt’s stance on the crisis of Yemen saying that the conflict in the war-ravaged Arab country is far more complex than being a struggle between the government and the Houthis.
Egypt chose not to interfere in the Yemeni crisis because the war in Yemen is a proxy war in which other countries are involved, the president said answering a question in a debate session held as part of the World Youth Forum 2018 hosted by the Red Sea resort city of Sharm El Sheikh.
The conflicts in the world, and in the Islamic world including in the Arab countries are complex and need great efforts and a huge influencing power to be settled, he said.
Egypt is very much aware of its limits and its powers and its stance in the case of Yemeni has been based on its knowledge that it cannot influence some of the parties involved in the conflict, he argued.
Sisi acknowledged that the same view applies to other conflict-hit areas in the region including Syria, Libya and Afghanistan.
“I wish that there will be an end to all these conflicts so that the peoples of these countries would be able to live in security and peace,” he said.
About Egypt’s stance in support of Saudi Arabia after the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in Turkey, Sisi said the case is subject to investigations from the Saudi and Turkish authorities so everyone should wait and see their outcome.
Warning of jumping to conclusions, he said “I wonder why it is that always doubted in what people in our region say”. “Take Egypt for example, the public tend to be skeptical whenever any official promises that justice will be served.”
He warned of politicizing legal issues and interfering in judicial decisions such as what the case was when some European countries criticized death sentences issued by Egyptian courts against terrorists who attacked churches and mosques.
Though the Egyptian and international law allow for using the death penalty by court rulings, they were rejected by these countries because their cultures are against such kind of penalties ... “we respect that ... but we also ask them to respect the will of the Egyptian nation and its desire to protect its own security”, he said.
He also said that he supports Saudi Arabia because he wants to protect the stability of all regional nations, for the simple fact that “our region cannot bear any more turmoil”, such as in Libya, Syria, Somalia, Yemen and Afghanistan and some African countries and that have claimed lives of hundreds of thousands of people and displaced millions. President Sisi affirmed that he understands the reasons that lead leaders of some countries across the world decide to close their borders in the face of refugees fleeing from conflict zones.
“Each country has the right to protect its own people and its own national interests. All countries are obliged to respect human rights but they also need to protect their own national interests.”
He urged people in war-hit countries to seek an end to their conflicts and to take a firm stand to resolve their own problems, iron out their differences and stem the bloodshed. “They have to turn their focus to rebuilding their nations,” he said.
Sisi described the idea of launching a unified African currency as a dream that needs hard collective work to be fulfilled.
It is a step needs concerted efforts of all African countries, he said.
Citing the European countries’ launch of the euro as an example he pointed out that this step took great efforts and meticulously organized institutional work based on sound economic foundations.
Such matters as having a unified African currency, cannot be based on desires alone “we need to first possess the factors that enable us to get what we want,” he said.
The European experiment took over 40 years of lengthy debates to materialize, and though this culminated in the establishment of the European Union yet the whole process is now being reviewed and reassessed, he also said.
As far as Africa is concerned I think that the things that really matter right now and that should be at the forefront are stemming the bloodshed and realizing stability and security in addition to pushing up growth rates in a way that meets the aspirations of the peoples of all African nations, Sisi added
President Sisi agreed on forming a committee and holding a social dialogue to amend the law on non-governmental and civil society organizations (NGOs & CSOs).
Sisi made the move after a meeting with a group of youths on the sidelines of the World Youth Forum, currently in session in Sharm El Sheikh, when one of the participants raised the issue for discussion, saying that the legislation needs reconsideration and the use of the president's constitutional powers. The president said he agrees with her on the need to address the current law’s shortcomings.
He urged the State's relevant bodies to revisit the issue and move to bring their proposed amendments to the House of Representatives to be examined.
Sisi said that there are over 50 thousand NGOs and CSOs that are operating in Egypt and making a superb work which the State needs to be able to reach out to support all those who are really in need.
He asserted that the State is keen on making sure that the law regulating the work of these organizations would be balanced and help them in carrying out their mission efficiently and effectively.
President Sisi said he wants Egypt to become an advanced state whose people are able to enjoy a decent life.
Egypt has a population of 100 million people and 65 million of them are less than 40 years old so we are a young nation whose people are full of hopes and aspirations, promising them to do a lot to serve all humanity in the best way he can, he said.
Egypt faces many problems and so do the entire region and Africa as well, he said pledging that Egypt will put its huge potentials in best use to serve its interests and the interests of all it neighboring countries across the region and in Africa.
He admitted that Egypt’s economic reforms are tough, expressing his appreciation to the Egyptian people for enduring all the hardships in which these reforms have entailed.
He spoke proudly about the unprecedented achievements accomplished in the country in the past five years in vast and numerous areas, especially pertaining to building a developed infrastructure that befits Egypt, noting projects that are already being undertaken to change the current hard reality and generate jobs.
When asked about Egypt’s efforts to strengthen ties with the developing countries in Southeast Asia, President Sisi asserted that Egypt seeks to foster its relations with all countries in the world and not just those in the Southeast Asia region. “We want our relations with other countries to be balanced and away from political polarizations,” he said.
“We are moving on all directions to develop our relations with everyone, for Egypt needs to cooperate with them all and to keep constantly in touch with every country all around the world for the mutual benefit of their peoples.”
President Sisi expressed keenness on reconciling Palestinian factions and calming conditions in Gaza Strip to alleviate sufferings of its people.
He called for Palestinian unity, reiterating Egypt’s fixed stance in support of the Palestinian cause and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state to live in peace alongside the state of Israel.