Egypt respects Japan's civilisation, contribution to world peace: Sisi to Japanese parliament

Hana Afifi , Monday 29 Feb 2016

El-Sisi praised the Japanese development experience and presented Egypt's completed roadmap and investment opportunities

Abdel Fattah El-Sisi
Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (on podium) delivers a speech at the Lower House of parliament in Tokyo, Japan, February 29, 2016 (Reuters)

In a speech to the Japanese Parliament on Monday morning, El-Sisi praised the Japanese economic development experience, discussed Egypt's completed roadmap towards state-institution building, counted investment opportunities for Japanese businessmen in Egypt, and tackled regional challenges.

El-Sisi, who is on three-nation Asian tour, is one of only six presidents to have ever addressed Japan's parliament, the second African president to do so after Nelson Mandela, and the first Arab president.

The Japanese experience

The Egyptian president expressed his appreciation for Japan's civilisation as well as its economic development experience.

"I would like to express the Egyptian people's and my personal appreciation of what Japanese people offer: a role model and a unique civilisation, which managed to transform honourable, ethical principles and team work into a concrete reality everywhere in Japan," El-Sisi said.

He also evoked Egyptian poets who spoke highly of Japan, citing the late 'Prince of poets' Ahmed Shawky's praise for the Japanese nation, and 'Poet of the Nile' Hafez Ibrahim's Japan-inspired poems.

Egypt's roadmap 

El-Sisi reviewed Egypt's implementation of its 2013 road map, including the convening of parliament, highlighting the high representation of women, youth, and members with special needs.

He also said the Egyptian people realised their goals by preserving the stability of their state and its institutions, saying this "prevented Egypt from slipping into the fate of other countries in the region that were ripped apart by divisions and civil war, and where hateful terrorism multiplied their people's suffering."

"The Egyptian parliament will make sure to activate the articles of the constitution, which includes unprecedented [guarantees] of rights and freedoms, in the context of the state's commitment to continue along the democratic path that it started."

He added that the Egyptian state is committed to the rule of the law, the separation of powers, and respect for human rights not only on the political and civil level, but also in terms of social and economic aspirations for a stable and secure life.

El-Sisi added that he hopes to build strong relations between the Japanese and Egyptian parliaments and ties that go beyond the official level.

He expressed appreciation for Japan's support for Egypt in transportation, health, education, and cultural sectors.

"Egypt aspires to continue this cooperation to complete the operation of development in order to make Egyptian-Japanese relations even more special," El-Sisi said.

Investment opportunities

El-Sisi presented Egypt's major projects, such as the Suez Canal area development project and the road network project, stressing on investment opportunities in Egypt and encouraging Japanese investors to contribute to such projects.

"Egypt passed legislations and procedures to attract investors, and is one of the countries generating the most revenues in investments.

"Egypt offered in one year a solution to the problem of energy shortage and completely fulfilled the industry sector's needs so that the wheel of production continues," the Egyptian president said.

He also encouraged Japanese tourists to visit Egypt, stressing that Cairo is committed to protecting the safety of its visitors.

The Islamic discourse 

El-Sisi said Islam carries a message of peace, adding that the religion advocates seeking knowledge and cooperation between nations and not terrorising people or destroying civilisations.

"Islam elevates the value of the soul," he said, adding that whoever violates this through killing and aggression is not related to Islam.

"A hateful terrorism is present in the world, which damages minds, destroys the good, antagonises humanity, hates civilisation and seeks to achieve toxic, narrow interests for segments who know no religion or homeland," El-Sisi said.

He stressed that fighting terrorism requires cooperation and not only military power, but also economic and social means to prevent the cultivation of such behavior, in addition to the need of correcting religious discourse and developing education.

"Egypt seeks cooperation with Japan in the education sector to benefit from its wonderful experience which combined high quality education with extreme care for incorporating honorable, humanitarian principles of patriotism and team work, which are essential for economic and social development," he added.

Agreement on regional matters

El-Sisi emphasised Egypt's support for political solutions in regional conflicts to maintain the unity of states such as in Syria, Libya, and Yemen.

He highlighed Egypt's role in working for peace in the Middle East, saying Egypt has remained committed to its signed peace treaties while exerting efforts to boost Palestinian-Israeli negotiations.

"The Egyptian state believes that the stability needed in the Middle East will not happen without a just and permanent solution for the Palestinian issue that ends the Palestinian people's decades-long suffering and grants them a stable life in an independent state, with East Jerusalem as its capital," El-Sisi said.

"I spoke to you with honesty and I hope that [my words] resonated in this deep-rooted parliament, convinced your minds, and touched your hearts. It is a peaceful, loving, and honest expression of the will of my country's people to work and cooperate with Japan and its people," El-Sisi said, concluding his speech.

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