Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi ( Middle) ,Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel-Aal (Left) and Minister of Defense Sedqi Sobhi (Right) during the 24th Armed Forces'intellectual seminar on Thursday 9 February,2017 (Photo: Facebook)
Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has said he will not allow divisions, or organising along political, religious or sectarian lines among members of the Egyptian armed forces, saying that the Egyptian military will forever remain "the army of the nation."
ُEl-Sisi's statement came during a speech before the Egyptian Armed Forces 24th intellectual seminar titled Counter-terrorism; a Nation's Will on Thursday.
"I say before you, I refused a request over four years ago to allow sectarian and religious affiliation inside our armed forces; our army will remain the army of the Egyptian people."
"Anyone who appears to have adopted any orientation or loyalty inside the army except for to his nation will be expelled immediately; this has been the rule of the army for thirty years," the president said.
Addressing the country's security forces in the army and police, El-Sisi praised the role of both national institutions. He said they were fighting a "sacred war" against terrorism, working to protect their nation from collapse.
"For three years we have been fighting this war,'' El-Sisi said, stressing that loyalty inside the army and police is solely to the nation and not even to the president.
"I say to my sons in the armed forces: you are not fighting a war to defeat an enemy, you are fighting a war to save your nation from fragmentation and religious sectarianism."
"We will not allow that our people be terrorised or become refugees; this is our most sacred and honoured duty inside the army," the president said.
El-Sisi added that the war on terrorism must carry on simultaneously with development efforts.
On the country's current economic situation, El-Sisi said that the challenges may be bigger than the state, the government or even the president, but that he is certain they cannot be bigger than the will of the Egyptian people.
"The Egyptian people's awareness has been a brick wall in the face of these challenges. Despite all complexities we may be facing, Egyptians now have the ability to decide what is better for them," he said.