Egypt’s president to Die Welt: Security should not be achieved at expense of freedom

MENA , Ahram Online , Saturday 24 Apr 2021

El-Sisi denied that the Egyptian authorities arrest and imprison people over their political views

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi waits for a meeting with Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew at the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, Monday, Oct. 27, 2014 (Photo: AP)

Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi told German newspaper Die Welt that security should not come at the expense of freedom, even in a country that suffers from hard conditions like Egypt.

In an interview published on Saturday, El-Sisi denied that the Egyptian authorities arrest and imprison people over their political views.

"We do a lot so that everyone gets justice in courts and we do not have political detainees," he said. "We previously had chaos, but we are now working on building and stability," he added.

The president asserted that Egyptians need to have access to good education so that they can avoid chaos when expressing their opinion.

He also asserted that applying freedom and democracy standards should take into account the conditions of the Egyptian people and how the poor and illiterate are living.

"I do not want to ask [for] support from them, just give us some of your knowledge, industry and technology," he said, addressing the interviewer. "We want to share your advancement just as you ask us to adopt your ideas about freedom," he added.

El-Sisi went on saying that criticism, unlike incitement, is permissible for everyone but it should be "constructive”.

El-Sisi stressed the importance of stability in a country like Egypt that has a population of 100 million people, noting that inciting a coup is dangerous and unacceptable.

Speaking about the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, the president in the interview said that the group has worked for 90 years to reach power and has not tackled huge problems that faced the country.

El-Sisi said that Egyptian people rebelled against the Brotherhood group after only one year in power, noting that no one can rule the Egyptians against their will.

He asserted that no one can oppose people who revolted two times – in 2011 and 2013 – to topple two governments.

"They can rise for the third and fourth time if they disagree with the ruler," said El-Sisi.

"Mubarak was in power for 30 years before he was overthrown and Morsi ruled for one year before he was driven out of office by the people," he added.

"Egyptians have free will and a power to dismiss any government they do not like," he added.

On the past elections in the country, El-Sisi said that reporters and civil society organisations were invited to oversee the process in order to guarantee holding the elections properly.

"The US embassy welcomed the elections that took place in Egypt and asserted that they were impartial and credible," he added.

The president then addressed regional issues including the Palestinian cause.  "We always tell the Israeli side that the Palestinian cause comes first, and after that Israel can discuss any other issues," he said.

"The establishment of a Palestinian state side by side with Israel will guarantee the security of the Israeli citizens, not only [that of] the Palestinians," he added.

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