The world has grasped Egypt's terrorism threats, says El-Sisi

Ahram Online, Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

Egypt's president says world now sees why Egypt 'revolted against extremism', hopes for membership in UN Security Council in 2016

Abdel Fattah el-Sisi,
President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, of Egypt, addresses the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly, at U.N. headquarters, Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014 (Photo: AP)

In his speech to the United Nations on Wednesday, Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said that the world has begun to understand the reality of the extremism that Egyptians revolted against last year.

"The world has started to grasp the reality and understand why Egyptians revolted against extremism that wanted to break the unity of the nation," said El-Sisi.

At the beginning of his speech, El-Sisi saluted UN officials and also Egyptian expats who came from different cities to the UN headquarters to "say that a new Egypt is coming."

El-Sisi said that since his election last June, he and other Egyptians have been working to build "a civil democratic state" by following the roadmap announced last year by different political forces soon after the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

He also stressed the need for an inclusive state that respects the law, the judiciary and human rights.

Egypt fighting terrorism

El-Sisi said Egypt faced real threats during last year's politically polarised atmosphere from a group that uses terrorism in the name of religion – a reference to the Muslim Brotherhood, declared a terrorist organisation by Egyptian authorities in the months after Morsi's ouster.

"We have warned against these groups," said El-Sisi, adding that different countries should step up their efforts to counter terrorism.

El-Sisi said that this group in particular (the Muslim Brotherhood from which Morsi hails) has been spreading false teachings in Egypt since the 1920s while depending on violence and terrorism.

"I stress we should not allow such groups to offend Islam or all Muslims," said El-Sisi, without mentioning the name of the group.

El-Sisi said that since being elected president he has been working with Egyptians to build a state that enforces the rule of law while respecting rights, duties and freedom of expression and belief.

Middle East peace

Concerning the region, El-Sisi said there must be "a decisive confrontation to the extremism" in Libya, Iraq and Syria.

He also stressed Egypt's support for the will of Syrians, Libyans, Iraqis and Palestinians.

El-Sisi suggested two main points for regional peace. First, enforcing the principle of citizenship in all Middle East countries, in which all citizens reach a consensus with their country and understand their rights and duties.

Second, a decisive confrontation against all figures of extremism, such as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

"We have already had talks with the current Libyan government about an initiative against terrorist groups and we are willing to have a wider conversation about it with different countries," he said.

He also said the Palestinian issue is at the top of Egypt's agenda to enforce peace and stop any more bloodshed. 

Near the end of his speech, he said he was looking forward to Egypt gaining non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council in 2016.

Egypt's aim for development

El-Sisi said that Egypt is aiming to attract new investments, citing recently announced projects to develop the Suez Canal, including expanding the waterway and building a corridor for logistics.

"Egypt has started a new developmental plan that will continue until 2030 and aims to establish a free market capable of attracting investments in light of a more secured atmosphere," said El-Sisi. 

He invited all attendees to join the Egyptian Economic Conference scheduled to take place next February to gather new investments and international partners. 

On different occasions El-Sisi has called on foreign countries to invest in Egypt, whose economy has deteriorated amid political disturbance since the 2011 uprising.

His trip to the US – his first as Egypt's president – has already included meetings with US business figures, with whom he discussed tourism and trade projects in an effort to attract investment to Egypt.

El-Sisi, leading an Egyptian delegation of ministers and officials, is tackling a busy schedule in New York, where he is also expected to meet US President Barack Obama.

He has already met with several international state officials, most notably Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, whose ongoing Nile dam project has been at the heart of a rift between the two countries over concerns of access to the Nile's water supply.

He also met several US Congress people, as well as the chairman of the World Economic Forum, Klaus Schwab, former US president Bill Clinton and former secretary of state Hilary Clinton.

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