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Egypt's El-Sisi talks parliamentary polls, Syria and Ethiopia's dam

Part three of interview with Saudi newspaper Okaz deals with upcoming polls, Syria's peace prospects and Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam

Ahram Online, Wednesday 29 Oct 2014
Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi (Photo: Reuters)
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Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi spoke with Saudi newspaper Okaz, discussing Egypt's upcoming parliamentary elections, Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam and Syria's Bashar Al-Assad.

In the first two sections of the interview, El-Sisi told Okaz that "international forces" thought they could establish a new regional system to give them more influence – but failed. He also praised Saudi Arabia and King Abdullah.

The third part of the extended interview was published on Wednesday.

Parliamentary elections

Okaz asked El-Sisi why he wasn't worried about the upcoming polls bringing about "choices that can affect the future and heighten confrontations between the state and parliamentary authorities".

El-Sisi answered that he trusts the Egyptian people and their ability to choose people who represent them and have the country's interest at heart.

Egypt is currently without a parliament; authorities say the elections will take place before the end of this year.

The president added that there's a segment of society that doesn't care for Egypt's interests – but that this segment was rejected by the Egyptian people in the 25 January 2011 and 30 June 2013 uprisings.

Okaz also asked El-Sisi whether the country is pushing forward in ensuring that the next parliament has "justice, optimism and builds Egypt on strong and solid bases" – terms that the president used to describe the two uprisings.

El-Sisi replied that "the issue is left to the choices of the people ... we as a state do not interfere in these details, after the constitution has put everything on its right path."

Syria

On Syria, El-Sisi said Egypt supports the continuity of a strong Syrian state. Egypt will also stand with the Syrian people for a better future and the prevalence of their will, he added.

On the future of Bashar Al-Assad as Syria's president, El-Sisi said the matter is left to the Syrian people, and if people want change, it is better that it be fulfilled through a balanced political solution.

Such a solution, he said, involves reaching a deal between the Syrian regime and opposition that will achieve change through the will of the majority of the people and needs for stability.

Ethiopia's dam

On Ethiopia's ongoing dam project, El-Sisi said that Egypt "never seeks to harm the interests of a state, and we do not accept to be harmed or our vital resources affected."

Ethiopia has the right to achieve the development of its people, and Egypt has the right, as an estuary state, to get its share of the water without a decrease, El-Sisi said.

Cairo is concerned that the $4.2 billion dam project, which the Ethiopian government says is now 40 percent complete, could have an adverse effect on its water supply.

He said Egypt maintains the right for its water supply, especially as it suffers from water scarcity and a deficit in water resources.

According to El-Sisi, the issue should be resolved through understanding and finding solutions based on mutual trust.

This is what Egypt is currently doing along with Ethiopia and Sudan, El-Sisi added, avoiding past mistakes that led to erosion of trust between all sides.

"I trust there's a solution that can be implemented, and our experts are searching for it," he concluded.
 

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