File photo: Egyptian Coptic Pope Tawadros II, head of the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church. Reuters
“Today, we celebrate the 40th anniversary of liberation of the precious land of Sinai after a long journey of martyrdom and diplomatic and peace efforts that have distinguished Egypt all over its history," the Coptic Orthodox Church said in a statement.
The church also highlighted the ongoing comprehensive development in Sinai “after the armed forces and police managed to get rid of terrorism in Sinai through great and precious sacrifices.”
“We pray to God to protect the territories of our homeland and maintain peace and stability in Egypt,” the statement added.
Meanwhile, Andrea Zaki, the head of the Evangelical Community in Egypt, also greeted the president and citizens on the occasion, lauding the sacrifices of Egyptian servicemen to restore this dear part of the homeland.
Egypt celebrates on 25 April of every year the final withdrawal of Israeli occupation forces from the Sinai Peninsula in 1982 as per the 1979 US-brokered Egyptian-Israeli Camp David Peace Accords.
Marking the anniversary on Monday in a televised speech, El-Sisi sent “greetings to everyone who contributed to the restoration of this holy land and its return to the motherland, Egypt.”
He also paid tribute to the souls of the martyrs and late President Anwar El-Sadat as well as to the Egyptian diplomats who patiently fought to win every inch of Sinai back through negotiations.
During his speech, the president congratulated Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Christians on the conclusion of their holy week, which also coincided with the approaching end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan and the advent of Eid El-Fitr.