Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said Wednesday that 2011’s January 25 Revolution “will remain a turning point in this country’s history.”
In an official televised address by the president on its sixth anniversary, El-Sisi said that the 2011 revolution expressed the desire of Egyptians for change and their aspiration to build a new future for the nation.
“My dear Egyptian people, the revolution will remain a turning point in this country’s history, where the hopes were huge at its beginning, but so was the unprecedented frustration that followed when the revolution diverted from its right path and was seized by people with interests and unpatriotic intent,” El-Sisi said.
He added that this path was soon rectified “by the revolution of the people in 30 June 2013," with the people "retrieving the right to preserve their identity and decide on their fate" and the fight to thwart “terrorist and dark groups.”
On 30 June 2013, millions of Egyptians took to the streets to protest the rule of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, who hails from the now banned Muslim Brotherhood group, and who had come to power a year prior.
President El-Sisi saluted the souls of the martyrs, asserting that their sacrifices will always be a source of pride and inspiration for all Egyptians, restating the pledge that Egypt remains a free country for all of its citizens.
“I say to the families of our martyrs that their memory will be engraved in our minds and you will ever stay under the custody of our nation. Our great people are living in peace and pursuing prosperity and development,” El-Sisi said.
More than 800 people were killed during the 18-day uprising that led to the removal of President Hosni Mubarak and his regime.
“I am sure that history will do justice to this generation of Egyptians that has endured beyond human capacity through their wise character in maintaining the country from destruction while helping in solving economic conditions with courage and determination, bearing all hardships,” El-Sisi said.
El-Sisi added that Egyptians were now undergoing “a battle for development and reform in politics, economy, and other aspects in the community.”
Egypt's economy has been struggling since the 2011 uprising, with a sharp drop in tourism and foreign investment, two main sources of hard currency for the import-dependent country.
In 2014, Egypt embarked on a plan to introduce a number of fiscal reforms, including fuel subsidy cuts that increased prices by up to 78 percent, as well as imposing new taxes to ease a growing budget deficit.
On 3 November 2016, Egypt's Central Bank decided to freely float the pound and raise key interest rates as part of a set of reforms aimed at alleviating a dollar shortage and stabilising the country's flagging economy.
In that context, the Egyptian president said that an objective look at Egypt’s condition over the past year “proves to Egyptians that we’re moving on the right path.”
“We completed the execution of state institutions structures, from parliament to constitution, that represents the will of the people, bolstering the principle of the separation of powers and respect for the sovereignty of law,” El-Sisi said.
He also discussed Egypt’s war on terrorism, which has witnessed the killing of hundreds of security forces in recent years in the battle against an Islamist militant insurgency in North Sinai and other areas.
“We will continue fighting [this] obnoxious terrorism until we eradicate it from Egyptian lands,” El-Sisi said.
The president also mentioned the fight against corruption, in the wake of governmental officials being involved in bribery and corruption cases in recent months.
“Meanwhile, nothing will stop us from continuing our war on corruption, which is equivalent in its dangers and threat to that of terrorism, all the time while working to improve the economy and execute mega projects to achieve prosperity and a bright future, and above all a country that provides equal opportunities for its citizens,” El-Sisi said.
El-Sisi asserted that the struggle of the nation and all Egyptians “throughout the last six years didn’t go to waste, but resulted in an new future we are building with our sincere will and selflessness.”
“Great countries like Egypt do not change overnight, but require ongoing honest efforts and patience to instill freedoms, democracy and citizenship and maintain security and stability in our beloved nation,” El-Sisi said.