Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi shaking hands with participants at the third national youth conference in Ismailia on 26 April (Photo: Egypt's Presidential Spokesperson Facebook Page)
Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said on Wednesday that his strategic goal is to preserve the existence of the Egyptian state.
El-Sisi's statements came in a speech during the second day of this month’s youth conference, which kicked off in the Suez Canal city of Ismailia on Tuesday.
Addressing the youth of Egypt, President El-Sisi said that the country's institutions are suffering from flaws on all levels which need to be faced “honestly.”
"We have witnessed setbacks for several years, and we meet periodically to discuss and face our problems honestly," Sisi said.
On Tuesday, El-Sisi hailed the country's youths and "martyrs" in front of a crowd of some 1,000 young people at the opening ceremony of the three-day gathering, which was broadcast live on national television.
The president said that the current troubles faced by Egypt, including its suffering economy and the threat of terrorism, are temporary.
"Egyptians must know that what will protect the nation is not the army or the police, but the awareness and unity of our people," he said.
El-Sisi also said that the Egyptian army’s role in carrying out development is equal to that of all the country's other institutions.
El-Sisi said that a number of “wrong policies” adopted over the past 50 years, which his government is now trying to correct, have resulted in a shrinking middle class and the country’s current economic situation.
The president said that previous governments avoided “decisive measures to build a strong nation,” adding that these policies have led to a lack of awareness regarding Egypt’s “real problems.”
Egypt's third national youth conference sessions and workshops began on Wednesday and are planned to address issues including a recent surge in the price of foodstuffs, the government's efforts to improve the healthcare system, and sustainable energy development.
This is the third time El-Sisi has attended the monthly youth conference, which started in December.
The decision to hold the monthly youth conference was announced by the president in October during the first annual National Youth Conference.
In January, the second regular youth conference was held in Aswan and tackled challenges facing Upper Egypt, including ways to develop the economy and tourism in the region as well as the social and political empowerment of the youth. Some 1,300 young people from Upper Egyptian governorates took part in that event.