A still photo of President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi addressing a ceremony for the inspection of the equipment used in the Sinai development and reconstruction process in Ismailia governorate on Sunday
The total cost of these projects reached the equivalent of $40-50 billion, El-Sisi said while addressing a ceremony for the inspection of the equipment used in the Sinai development and reconstruction process in Ismailia governorate on Sunday.
The long-overdue development projects in Sinai were undermined over the past decades due to their high cost, El-Sisi said, explaining that establishing infrastructure over such a large area was always going to be costly.
"Sinai is around 60,000 square kilometres, and people in [the rest of] Egypt live on a total area of approximately 60,000 square kilometres," the president clarified.
In February 2018, El-Sisi announced that the government had earmarked EGP 275 billion to secure the future of Sinai. Three years later, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said projects to develop and populate the peninsula had cost the state EGP 700 billion.
Addressing a group of representatives of companies participating in development projects in Sinai, El-Sisi praised these companies for working amid hard circumstances, saying they suffered several incidents over the past years in an attempt undermine the work.
Terrorism, El-Sisi said, was undermining life in Sinai because security is a precondition to people enjoying the fruits of development, which has been “achieved thanks to God, the army, the police and the sons of Sinai.”
Terrorist attacks in North Sinai have declined following a series of security and military operations. Comprehensive Operation Sinai 2018 succeeded in almost completely eradicating terrorism from North Sinai as well as the Nile Delta and desert areas.
El-Sisi said that Egypt is keen on achieving security on the Sinai peninsula.
The military establishment and state institutions should maintain communication with tribesmen of Sinai, the president said.
Sisi stressed the importance of clearing the lands of Sinai from explosives within a month or two, before implementation of the development plan starts.
The Sinai development and reconstruction plan is not modest, El-Sisi said, expressing hope that the plan would be implemented in a way that befits the residents of Sinai.The war against terrorism is not over yet because "the state is still subject to rumors and lies, the latest of which was when it was said that the Suez Canal would be sold," El-Sisi said, urging vigilance as attempts to obstruct Egypt will continue.
He said "awareness is already exists among all sectors of the Egyptian people. If it was not there, people would not have endured the difficult circumstances and the rising prices that Egypt has been going through for more than a year."
"I admit it as it is a reality we live. Needless to say we are not the reason behind it but there is a huge burden on every family and every citizen as a result of the high prices," El-Sisi added.