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Sisi says Egypt won't intervene militarily in Libya

Ahram Online , Tuesday 8 Mar 2016
El-Sisi
Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi (Photo: Ahmed Fouad)
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President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi stressed on Monday that Egypt would not intervene militarily in turmoil-stricken Libya, describing the neighbouring country as a "sovereign state."

"History won't forget our stance if we decide to interfere in Libya," he said in a phone interview with Al Youm TV, his second with the same channel in a little over a month.

Egypt has been in coordination with General Khalifa Haftar, who controls militia forces loyal to the internationally recognised government in northeastern Libya.

In retaliation for the killing of 20 Coptic Christians over a year ago, the Egyptian army conducted air strikes against the Islamic State group in Libya, which Libyan authorities were informed of in advance.

"Libya is a sovereign state. Even if there is weakness within it now, we don't do that [military intervention] to our people [Libyans]," El-Sisi added.

El-Sisi's comments came after dozens of Islamist militants in the Tunisian town of Ben Guerdan, near the Libyan border, attacked army and police posts in a raid that left at least 50 people dead.

The Egyptian army is capable of foiling such attacks near the borders, El-Sisi said.

"You don't know the power of the Egyptian army. We are awaiting and ready for the evil people."

Development

Like in previous speeches, El-Sisi outlined development projects in Egypt, including in Sinai.

He promised that the peninsula, widely deemed one of the most underdeveloped areas of the country, will be "fully developed" by the end of his first term in 2018.

El-Sisi said his government set up a plan that includes EGP 10 billion ($1.28 billion) worth of development projects in Sinai. The execution timeframe may be a year and a half, he said.

The former army chief highlighted that "our brothers" in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia are willing to contribute to the funding of these projects. Both oil-rich countries have been providing Egypt with generous financial aid for over two years.

El-Sisi said new housing has already been built in the restive North Sinai city of Al-Arish, with 2,000 units ready and 3,000 set to be finished this month.

"As long as I said I will do it, then you will see it," he said.

When asked what message he would send to his people, El-Sisi said: "I ask Egyptians to know that the government and I are doing our best to change the harsh reality that has accumulated over the years."

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