Egypt's President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and accompanying ministers discuss Egyptian and regional affairs with former US officials (Photo Courtesy of Egyptian Presidency)
The state of human rights in Egypt shouldn't be judged from a Western perspective, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi told a group of former US officials in New York on Monday.
Presidential spokesman Alaa Youssef said El-Sisi discussed human rights with the "influential American figures," stressing to them that Egypt is keen on respecting and boosting human rights.
"The perception of human rights should not be shorthanded to political rights only, but has to be dealt with through a comprehensive perspective that also includes societal and economic rights, like the right to education, health, housing and work," El-Sisi said according to his spokesman.
When asked about the conditions faced by NGOs in Egypt, El-Sisi said that such organisations are “an important partner on Egypt's path to development," adding that the Egyptian parliament has approved a law that regulates their work "in light of fear within the society about the work conducted by such organisations in the past years."
According to El-Sisi's statements to the former US officials, the law has not been put yet in effect. He said that its bylaws are currently being prepared, so as to apply it in a way that ensures "no obstacles are placed in front of the civil society organisations’ work.''
The Egyptian president also tackled regional issues, including Palestine, Libya, Qatar, and Syria.
On Qatar, El-Sisi said "it was time that sides that support terrorism are held responsible," pointing at the Gulf country.
Egypt is among four countries, including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and UAE, who cut ties with Qatar in June over Doha’s alleged support of terrorist groups and its relationship with Iran.
"Qatar should show a willingness to not harm Arab countries' interests and not interfere in their domestic affairs through complying with the demands of the four boycotting countries," El-Sisi said.
El-Sisi also discussed efforts exerted by Egypt to revive the Palestinian peace process, highlighting Egypt's efforts with Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza to bridge views to accomplish Palestinian-Palestinian reconciliation.
The Egyptian president's statements on the issue come only one day after Hamas announced it had dissolved its administrative committee running Gaza, making way for the arrival of officials from the unity government, who would take control of the area.
The Hamas statement was issued from Gaza on Sunday following talks with Egyptian officials in Cairo last week.
Fatah, meanwhile, said on Sunday that it welcomed the pledge by its rival Hamas to accept key conditions for reconciliation.
Egypt has hailed the move.
El-Sisi also discussed the Palestinian-Israeli peace process, which has been witnessing a series of obstacles.
"Peace between Palestinians and Israelis can't be forced from abroad, it has to come through real certainty and will from both sides," El-Sisi said.
He said Egypt's vision was based on preserving the "national state and institutions so they can carry out their duties in maintaining security and combating terrorism," mentioning the unity of both Libyan and Syrian territories.
Monday marks the second day of El-Sisi's official visit to the US to participate in the 72nd United Nations’ General Assembly this week.
The president's schedule for the day included meetings with US businessmen and media interviews, according to a press release issued by the Egyptian president's office.