A new start for Sinai

Gamal Essam El-Din , Thursday 2 Mar 2023

Defeating terrorism in Sinai has paved the way for the reconstruction of the peninsula.

A new start for Sinai
Al-Sisi in Ismailia


“We have defeated terrorism and state authorities are now ready to reconstruct the peninsula of Sinai and implement development plans there in a much faster and robust way,” said President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi.

He made the remarks on Sunday while in Ismailia to inspect equipment that will be used in the development and reconstruction of the peninsula.

“Thanks to God, the army and security forces and the people of Sinai were able to uproot terrorism and pave the way for development and peace,” said Al-Sisi.

“As you all know, terrorist groups tried their best 10 years ago to wreak havoc across Sinai but, thanks largely to the sacrifices of the people of Sinai, the terrorist groups lost the battle. Sinai is now secure and open for all forms of development and reconstruction.”

He warned that “after losing the battle in Sinai and elsewhere in Egypt, terrorists are now waging another war, one of defamation, lies and rumours which aim to shake the stability of the state. The last was just three weeks ago when rumours were circulated claiming that we are planning to sell the Suez Canal.”

“Today, I can say that there will be a new start for life in Sinai.”

As part of that new start, President Al-Sisi said channels of communication between state authorities and the army and the people, sheikhs, and tribesmen will be much stronger and closer in order to maintain stability and make sure that the tragic scenario of the last decade is not repeated.

One of the most pressing tasks in developing the peninsula is to clear it of landmines and other unexploded ordinance withing one or two months. “We can’t kick off the development process without first making sure that the land is safe,” said the president.

Development plans include building 60,000 km of roads, a dozen electricity stations, and reclaiming land for agriculture that can be productive within a year. Al-Arish Airport will also be upgraded and expanded to accommodate international traffic.

“We are planning to increase Egypt’s populated areas to 12 per cent of the land, up from 10 per cent at present, and most of this increase will come in Sinai,” said Al-Sisi. “We are looking at a period of 25 years to develop and reconstruct the peninsula.”

Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouli said development and reconstruction investment in Sinai has cost LE610 billion since 2014.

“If we think of the October War in 1973 as the first milestone for liberating our occupied land, we can think of what we are doing now, pushing forward with integrated development, as the second milestone,” said Madbouli.

“Current development efforts aim to link the peninsula with the Suez Canal’s hinterland through a network of roads, tunnels and bridges.”

Major General Ahmed Al-Azzazi, chairman of the Armed Forces’ Engineering Authority, outlined how, since July 2014, the authority has been involved in the implementation of hundreds of major development projects.

“We have taken charge of implementing 460 projects at a total cost of LE480 billion,” said Azzazzi. “The authority has finished implementing 340 projects, is currently implementing 102 and planning to implement a further 18.

“The projects cover roads, tunnels, bridges, airports, seaports, new housing communities, healthcare facilities, sanitary infrastructure, electricity, industrial development and the construction of schools and sports stadiums.”

* A version of this article appears in print in the 2 March, 2023 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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