Honesty, not 'shining' hopes, will form our social contract, says El-Sisi

Ahram Online, Sunday 8 Jun 2014

In an hour-long speech, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi promises to preserve the interests of all Egyptians 'without the exclusion of anyone'


In an evening ceremony at Cairo's Al-Quba presidential palace, Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi vowed to establish a social contract between the people based on honesty and not "shining hopes".

El-Sisi started his hour-long speech by calling on the attendees to stand for a moment of silence for the country's martyrs from "the army, police and the people."

He then saluted his predecessor, former interim-president Adly Mansour, expressing his gratitude for Mansour's role in the country's transitional period, the year following the 30 June 2013 protests which led to Mohamed Morsi's ouster. At the end of his speech, El-Sisi would present Mansour with the Nile Medal of Honour, Egypt's highest award, for his efforts.

Citing the economic and political challenges that Egypt faced before 30 June, El-Sisi vowed to preserve the interest of all Egyptians "without the exclusion of anyone".

He further stressed the need to preserve the rights of the poor, promising them a better life within four years.

"I always pray for God to help me in my mission and help me be worthy of your trust," he added.

The former army chief also praised the role of the armed forces, describing the institute in which he served for over four decades as "the castle of Egyptian patriotism".

"I have learned in the armed forces that there is no escape from battles, and for that I went on to announce the 3 July statement [Morsi's ouster] that was drafted by the national forces with the blessing of the people," he added.

Regarding the police, El-Sisi promised to develop the security apparatus and to "double their capabilities and to establish a healthy relation between the security apparatus and the people."

El-Sisi reiterated his earlier statements by saying that while he embraced reconciliation between Egyptians, he stressed that he excludes those who have committed crimes or engaged in violence.

He also promised the establishment of "massive" national projects and the providing of an adequate environment to encourage investors.

He addressed the youth, affirming that it's them "who build the country's future" and called for the inclusion – and greater representation – of women in Egypt's political life.

Regarding foreign policy, El-Sisi said that the security of the Gulf states is inseparable from Egyptian national security.

He added that Egypt was and will continue to be committed to the Palestinian cause until an independent state of Palestine is established according to 1967 borders.

Meanwhile, on Egypt's relationship with Africa, El-Sisi said the dispute over Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam should not be "an obstacle" between Egypt and Africa, including Ethiopia.

"The age of subordination in Egypt's foreign relations is over," he added.

The nearly hour-long speech went on to offer the elected president's plans for education, agriculture and health in Egypt. El-Sisi also stressed the need to develop the religious discourse in the country through reviving the influence of Al-Azhar institute. He further praised the role of the Egyptian church in reflecting a true image of the "unified national fabric".

Over a thousand guests from Egypt and abroad were invited to the event which took place at one of the country's oldest palaces in Cairo's upscale district of Heliopolis.

Among the attendees were interim Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab, Al-Azhar Grand Imam Ahmed El-Tayyeb, Pope Tawadros II, prominent politician Amr Moussa and Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, former head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF).

Also present were Abdel-Hakim and Mona Abdel-Nasser, son and daughter of late president Gamal Abdel-Nasser, and Gehan Sadat, wife of late president Anwar Sadat.

Interim president Mansour gave a speech at the event in which he expressed hope for a more "special future" for Egypt.

"Today as an Egyptian citizen, I trust that we have taken steps towards the road of democracy," said Mansour, adding that the "road is hard" but that it is the right one.

Mansour added that the time has come for Egyptian to regain their rights, expressing his certainty that people have the ability to "work and achieve and to cooperate with our new president to build our nation's future".

El-Sisi was sworn in on Sunday morning to become the country's second-democratically elected president since the 25 January 2011 revolution after he won nearly 97 percent of the votes in the 26-28 May presidential election.

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