Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi during the armed forces educational symposium on Saturday. PM Sherif Ismail (R) and Minister of Defence Sedki Sobhy (L) (Photo: Spokesman of the Egyptian Presidency)
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi commemorated the 36th anniversary of the liberation of Sinai on Saturday at the 28th educational seminar organised by the Egyptian armed forces, according to a statement by the Egyptian presidency.
The event was attended by Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, Defence Minister Sedki Sobhy, and the Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Mohamed Farid, as well as a number of ministers, governors, journalists, students of the military institute and Egyptian universities, and members of Sinai tribes.
The proceedings of the seminar began with screening of a documentary film called Sinai: The Legend of a Place and the Epic Story of a People, which reviews the efforts to liberate Sinai in times of war and peace.
The film highlights the sacrifices of the martyrs of the armed forces to liberate Sinai from occupation, and the ongoing efforts to combat terrorism and eliminate it from the peninsula as part of the ongoing Operation Sinai 2018 agaist terrorism, as well as ongoing efforts and projects to develop Sinai in a comprehensive way.
El-Sisi explained the tremendous efforts that have been made to rebuild the armed forces after 1967, paying tributes to the great achievements of the armed forces during this phase.
The president stressed the importance of not allowing any kind of threat to the security and stability of Egypt, praising, in this context, the strategic vision of late president Mohamed Anwar El-Sadat and his courage in making the decisions of war and peace, especially in the light of the difficulties and the great obstacles surrounding his peace initiative, the statement read.
The president said that the most pressing challenge facing Egypt is an internal not an external challenge, explaining the challenge is to preserve the cohesion of the Egyptian state and the unity of its people.
El-Sisi also stressed that "the security and military measures undertaken in Sinai are indispensable to protect this dear part of the homeland," the statement said.
On 25 April, Egypt celebrates the completion of the withdrawal of Israeli military from the Sinai Peninsula in 1982, following the 1979 Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty signed by late President Sadat.
The Secretary-General of the Arab League and former Egypt Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit, who was among the attendees, spoke during the event about the epic story of liberating Sinai starting with the war of attrition 1967-1970 through the October 1973 war, and the parallel political and diplomatic efforts to achieve peace.
Ibrahim Mahlab, the president's aide for national and strategic projects, highlighted sustainable developmental efforts in Sinai in the areas of housing, education, health, job creation and infrastructure, saying the project of developing the peninsula could cost EGP 275 billion.
During the event, Sheikh Hassan Khalaf, a vetran Sinai fighter who was taken prisoner of war by Israel before the armed forces secured his freedom in a prisoner exchange deal, highlighed the deep relationship between the sons of Sinai and the armed forces in defending the peninsula.
Sinai native Salwa Salem Al-Harsh, the grandaughter of one of Sinai's most prominent tribal leaders, stressed during the event the readiness of Sinai residents to sacrifice their lives for Egypt, and to protect and develop Sinai.
El-Sisi urged officials to complete the ongoing project to develop Sinai by 2022.