"There are some who try to undermine the national unity of Egyptians – Copts and Muslims," said President Hosni Mubarak, speaking to the Police Magazine, on the occasion of Police Day.
The president's remarks came less than 24 hours after a speech he gave on the same occasion, in which he addressed an audience of top police officers and state officials.
Mubarak, who had earlier declined to discuss matters related to signs of sectarianism and anti-Coptic sentiments, acknowledged the "call for sectarianism" and "the challenge of extremism and Salafist groups".
However, the president insisted that it is "unfair and untrue" to talk of anti-Coptic discrimination in Egypt. "Those who propagate such allegations are spreading fabricated accounts," he insisted.
Mubarak also insisted that it is the state that is responsible for the protection of all its citizens, "to protect national unity and to secure equal citizenship rights and duties to all." This, the president added, is part and parcel of its commitment to preserve national security.
The attack on Egypt's national unity, as Mubarak argued, is part of a wider attempt to undermine the chances of Egypt to keep up with its regional role and to upgrade its economic performance. This attempt, he promised, would not be left unchallenged.