Al-Sisi: “Egypt and France are confronting terrorism and fighting together on several fronts”

In an exclusive interview published by French newspaper (Le Figaro) on Wednesday, the president added: ” classifying Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization in Egypt or in many other countries of the region didn’t come out of a vacuum as it penetrated the charitable organizations and armed terrorist organizations. In addition, their interference in institutional political circles represents an existential threat to states, they exploit religion to justify the comprehensiveness of their vision. ”

French newspaper “Le Figaro” published, on Wednesday, its exclusive interview with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi on its front page, Egypt’s presidency spokesperson Bassam Radi said.

The interview tackled bilateral relations with France and the current situation in the region.

Al-Sisi affirmed that Egypt and France are confronting terrorism and fighting together on several fronts, pointing out that the French Parliament is currently discussing a bill that guarantees respect for republican principles., “It seems to me that France is now studying and measuring clearly the extent of the danger posed by the Muslim Brotherhood on society and European citizens,” the president said.

Sisi noted that Egypt, like France, paid a heavy price due to terrorism, explaining that Egyptian Muslims, Copts, the armed forces, police and judges were victims of brutal acts of terrorism. “We will not stop warning against this lethal ideology that knows no borders, and we called for international coordination to combat terrorism.”

He also stressed the need to punish the countries that finance and arm these terrorist organizations and violate the United Nations resolutions.

On his call for the separation of religion from politics, the president said: “it is up to Everyone to believe or not believe, there is no coercion in religion. But can we make fun of everything without realizing that this can be seen by others as a sign of contempt? Defamation of the image of the prophets comes out of the underestimation of billions of people’s adherence to the values and principles of religious symbols. Many men and women can be angered by an expression that represents an assault on their deepest beliefs. This should be taken into account out of a sense of responsibility and respect for others. ”

“In Egypt, we suffer every day from smear campaigns that aim to spread suspicion and discord among the Egyptian people, there are at least 6 satellite channels run and financed by foreign countries, targeting our people.” “I reaffirmed with president Macron our determination to prevent the spread of calls for violence, hatred and terrorism,” Sisi revealed.

On Ethiopia, Sisi said that the Nile waters are vital to Egypt and the dispute with Ethiopia over the Renaissance Dam extends for a long time, as the dam represents a source of legitimate development for Ethiopia, confirming that filling the dam unilaterally in violation of the principles and rules of international law threatens water supplies for 100 million Egyptian citizens.

“We remain committed to a fair legal solution and a binding agreement for all parties that preserves the interests of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan, and maintains our rights to water. After ten years of negotiations, it is time to complete and sign this agreement,” Sisi added.

On the other hand, President Sisi said that military and security cooperation with France goes beyond the limited framework of the trade exchange or the purchase of equipment. “Our relations are developing within the framework of the strategic partnership that includes various aspects related to defense relations. Egypt and France are fighting together on several fronts, however, we diversify our armament sources in order to have appropriate equipment capable of ensuring the best defense for Egypt.”

“We particularly appreciate French technology as Egypt was the first country to choose the Rafale fighters; This opened the way for it to be bought by many other countries.”

Regarding the Palestinian-Israeli peace process, President Sisi said that Egypt has – always – pushed and continues to work towards reaching a just and comprehensive settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

He pointed out that Egypt supported all international efforts, stressing: “and we count on the support of the new American administration and Europe, especially France, to reach – without any delay – a two-state solution on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem to be the capital of Palestine.” “The absence of a fair solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict; is the main source of instability in the Middle East.”

Regarding the work of civil organizations in Egypt and the claims that there are 60,000 prisoners of conscience in Egypt, President Sisi said that he did not know where this number came from. “People recently made a story of the arrest of 3 members of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights. The problem is that they registered as a commercial company in violation of the 2019 law governing the activities of non-profit organizations.

In his interview with the French Newspaper Le Figaro, Sisi added, “There are more than 55 thousand civil organizations in Egypt. Some of them work to support the Egyptian system to protect human rights. We seek to establish the necessary balance between the rights and duties of the citizen from one hand, and the security challenges and combating terrorism from the other hand.”

“You should realize that in the Middle East, stability and civil security are the most valuable thing for peoples. The reforms in the education, health and housing sectors are a practical expression of our adherence to preserving citizens’ rights.”

On the impact of Coronavirus on the Egyptian economy, President El-Sisi said, “We took measures to such as imposing curfews following the outbreak of the pandemic, so the number of our cases was much less than the numbers in Europe and America.”

He explained that the solid economic reform program initiated in 2014 has allowed maintaining a balance between continuing reforms and absorbing the restrictions imposed by the health crisis.

“We achieved a growth rate of over 3.6% during 2020. Meanwhile, the Egyptian government has allocated large sums of money to develop the health and education sectors, and pumped nearly 6 billion euros to respond to the urgent needs of basic sectors such as tourism, and support the most affected families and workers.”

The president stressed that the Egyptians have sacrificed a lot over the past years to abandon the subsidy-based economy, noting: “On the other hand, the International Monetary Fund and the rating agencies praised the economic outcomes achieved by Egypt.”

President Sisi concluded his interview by saying, “In this march towards development, we have chosen France as our preferred partner.”


Arab Observer

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