Egypt's Sisi says military action alone is not enough to combat terrorism

Ahram Online , Tuesday 10 Nov 2015

Speaking at the Fourth Summit of South American-Arab Countries, El-Sisi highlighted the importance of comprehensive discourse in rooting out terrorism

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi attends the Summit of South American-Arab Countries, in Riyadh November 10, 2015. (Photo: Reuters)

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said on Tuesday during his visit to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia that military action alone is not enough to root out terrorism.

El-Sisi made the comments in a speech during the Fourth Summit of South American-Arab Countries, which aims to strengthen relations between geographically distant countries.

The summit is headed by Saudi King Salman and is being attended by key figures from different South American and Arab countries, including the heads of Venezuela, Ecuador, Iraq and Palestine. 

"Egypt has realised that dealing with terrorism necessitates a comprehensive discourse that involves a real solution for economic, educational and cultural aspects," El-Sisi said.

The Egyptian president also mentioned the HAND initiative, which aims to counter terrorism and extremism in Egypt. The initiative was first announced by El-Sisi during his speech to the UN in September where he discussed the country's efforts to counter terrorism.

El-Sisi highlighted before the Riyadh summit that the HAND initiative aims at encouraging and developing the youth's skills and qualifying them for leading positions so they would not be attracted to any extremist groups or ideologies.

Terrorism has been El-Sisi's number one issue since he was sworn into office in June 2014, as Egypt has been facing an Islamist insurgency in the northern Sinai cities of El-Arish, Rafah and Sheikh Zweid, which intensified after the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.

Militant attacks have left hundreds of police and army personnel dead over the past few years. Egypt has also clamped down on dissent, jailing thousands of Muslim Brotherhood supporters as well as many secular-minded activists. 

The Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis militant group, which pledged allegiance to the regional ISIS group last November, has claimed responsibility for most of the attacks in Sinai.

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