France has developed a clearer vision of Brotherhood threat: Egypt's Sisi tells Le Figaro

MENA , Ahram Online , Wednesday 9 Dec 2020

The Brotherhood has formed armed militias and proliferated in institutional political circles, posing a threat to the states in which it operates, El-Sisi said

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi speaks during a joint press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace. Reuters

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said France has developed a clearer vision of the grave danger the Muslim Brotherhood poses to the European society.

In an interview with Le Figaro published on Wednesday, in tandem with the conclusion of El-Sisi's visit to France, the president said Egypt and other regional countries have had strong reasons to declare the Brotherhood a terrorist organisation.

The group has infiltrated social work, established charity organisations, formed armed militias and proliferated in institutional political circles, posing a threat to the states in which it operates, El-Sisi said.

The Brotherhood exploits religion as a cover for its agenda, he added.

Egypt and France are together facing terrorism, El-Sisi said, referring to the French parliament's current discussions on a bill that would guarantee the respect of the principles of the Republic of France.

Much like in France, terrorism in Egypt has inflicted a heavy price on the nation. Muslims and Christians, members of the Armed Forces, police and judiciary fell victim to the brutal acts of terrorism, he said.

"We have continuously been warning of the dangers of this deadly ideology that knows no borders. Let us coordinate at the international level to fight terrorism," El-Sisi stated.

Countries that finance and arm terrorist groups, in violation of UN resolutions, must be penalised, he added.

El-Sisi called for respecting the religion and faith of the other, referring to the anti-prophet cartoons that have hurt the feelings of Muslims around the world.

Answering a question about Turkish provocations against Egypt in Libya and the Eastern Mediterranean, El-Sisi said that Egypt is adopting a policy of establishing excellent relations with its neighbours, resorting always to dialogue.

Turkey, he added, should be like other regional countries that respect the rules of international law and the Law of the Sea. It should not take unilateral measures that affect regional security and peace without consulting with other countries, added the president.

The Eastern Mediterranean is rich with gas after the recent explorations, said the president, adding that Egypt adopts the logic of cooperation with its partners, including France.

As for a possible military confrontation between Egypt and Turkey in Libya, the president said that Egypt is working towards reaching a political and comprehensive solution to resolve the Libyan crisis and restore its stability. He underlined the necessity of ending foreign interference that threatens the stability of Libya due to the transportation of mercenaries and arms to extremist militias in Libya.

The president confirmed that Egypt will never initiate an attack, but that the Egyptian Armed Forces are always ready to defend Egypt and protect its national security in the face of any threats.

As for Ethiopia, El-Sisi said the Nile water is crucial for Egypt and differences with Ethiopia over its dam have taken too long.

The dam may be a source of development for Ethiopia, but filling it in violation of international law threatens the water supply of 100 million Egyptians, said the president.

He added that Egypt remains committed to a just and legal solution through reaching a final agreement that protects the interests of Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan.

As for the Palestinian-Israeli peace process, he pointed out that Egypt has always been working to reach a just and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian cause.

Concerning claims by some non-governmental organisations that there are 60,000 political prisoners in Egypt, the president said he had no idea how they came up with that figure.

Another issue concerned the incident when Egyptian authorities arrested three members of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights. The problem was that they registered the initiative as a commercial company, in violation of law 2019 for activities of associations that do not seek profit.

There are more than 55,000 NGOs in Egypt and some of them are cooperating with the Egyptian government for protecting human rights, said the president.

Egypt is working on striking a balance between protecting rights and confronting security challenges and fighting terrorism, added the president.

On the repercussions of the coronavirus on the Egyptian economy, the president said that country's strong economic reform programme helped confront the consequences of the coronavirus crisis. Egypt has achieved an economic growth rate of more than 3.6 percent in 2020, he added.

Egypt has embarked on a journey towards development in which it chose France as its favourite partner, El-Sisi concluded. 

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