Clear measures should be undertaken by Europe and the international community to deal with countries that aid terrorism, Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi told German public service broadcaster ARD in an interview during his two day official visit to Berlin this week.
In statements reported by state news agency MENA, El-Sisi said that any action with European and international support should be resolute if the world is serious about combating terrorism.
“If terrorism and terrorist organisations are not dealt with decisively, terrorism will rise and grow in the upcoming years,” El-Sisi said.
On procedures that Germany should take to fight terrorism, El-Sisi said that the European country should impose more pressure on countries that support terrorism and extremist groups, adding that this was not only an issue of “armed combat.”
“Such pressure could lead to a halt in funding, since such groups can not support themselves. Look at the terrorist groups around the world now; they are armed illegitimately, so where do they get such equipment and training?,” El-Sisi said.
The president named several groups who have claimed responsibility for attacks around the world recently, including Daesh, saying that all these groups should be understood similarly.
“I hope that we don’t limit our understanding of terrorism to Daesh only; instead we should consider that terrorism is in fact an extremist belief. What do you consider Nigeria’s Boko Haram and what is the difference between it and Daesh? What is the difference between Ansar Beit El-Maqdes in Egypt and Daesh? All those groups are similar and are not less dangerous than Daesh,” El-Sisi said.
He stressed that ending terrorism could not be achieved only through “military and security solutions," but must include "intellectual, security, military, cultural, societal, and religious combat.”
The Egyptian President also spoke about Egypt and the Gulf’s latest strife with Qatar, explaining Egypt’s participation in an alliance that imposes sanctions on the small Gulf country.
Egypt, along with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE, and several other countries decided last week to cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, with Egypt accusing the Gulf country of having links to terrorism and of interfering in the internal affairs of other countries in the region.
“I generally do not include names of countries in my talks, but all nations are aware of countries and organisations that fund extremist beliefs and terrorist groups. The international community should uphold its interests by creating a clear mechanism to restrain those countries and stop money from being delivered to such groups,” El-Sisi said.
El-Sisi also responded to several contentions by German officials that the standoff increases the risk of war breaking out in the region.
Last Saturday, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel told a German newspaper that the dispute between Qatar and the other Arab states could lead to war.
“I don’t expect it,” El-Sisi said.