Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said that if the situation necessitates it, he would be willing to call on the Egyptian people to take to the streets in demonstrations that would serve as a mandate for him to face evil forces that threaten the country.
The president made the comments during a ceremony in Port Said to inaugurate the first phase of operations at the giant gas field Zohr off Egypt's Mediterranean coast.
El-Sisi gave a warning against those who would attempt to "tamper with the security of Egypt."
“No one can mess with the country’s security. What has been accomplished in terms of security and stability will not be impinged upon by anyone again,” El-Sisi said, stressing that he will not allow a "repetition of what happened eight years ago."
The president warned citizens not to allow anyone to "lead you astray."
“The security of Egypt is worth my life and that of the army,” he said.
The Egyptian President also spoke about Italian student Giulio Regeni, who was found murdered in Cairo in February 2016 with his body bearing signs of torture.
El-Sisi asked Claudio Descalzi – the CEO of Italian gas company Eni, which is tasked with extracting gas from Zohr – "do you now know why they wanted to drive a wedge between us and Italy? [It was] so that we would not achieve this," referring to operations at Zohr.
El-Sisi said that the Regeni murder was an attempt to "cut the friendship between Italy and Egypt.”
“I will not forget Italy standing by us despite the Regeni incident. I will not forget it and neither will Egypt,” El-Sisi said.
The president reiterated condolences to Regeni’s family, and pledged that he will bring the culprits behind the murder to justice.
Last month, El-Sisi stressed in a meeting in Cairo with the Italian Minister of Interior Marco Minniti Egypt's "sincere determination" to reach final conclusions in the ongoing probe into Regeni's murder.