President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi is confident that Egyptians will overcome all difficulties and the country is on the right course towards a better future.
In only one year the Egyptian people were able to get on the right track, the president said in an interview with the editor-in-chief of Saudi Arabia’s Okaz newspaper.
Egypt, he said, will never give up its gains or aspirations to achieve democracy and enhance the principles of justice.
Al-Sisi said he is extremely optimistic about the future and touched on the new Suez Canal project and Egyptians’ contribution to raising funds to finance it.
The president also praised the support for the Egyptian people from Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdel-Aziz and many leaders in the region, at a very sensitive time when Egyptians wanted to regain their identity.
He stressed the importance of boosting relations with Riyadh in all fields, believing this will help strengthen the position of both countries at regional and international levels.
Egypt and Saudi Arabia
Concerning the future of relations between Egypt and Saudi Arabia, the president said the future is promising and there are a lot of economic and development opportunities, which will be reinforced by the political consensus between the two countries.
Al-Sisi said Saudi Arabia has proved supportive of Egypt and its people, as the two countries have deeply-rooted relations, that are well known throughout history.
Egypt is seeking to attain a non-permanent seat at the UN Security Council, the president told Okaz newspaper, adding it is counting on the support of all countries in this regard.
The president acknowledged Ethiopia’s right to achieve development, but still stressed the right of Egypt, a downstream country, to get its quota of Nile water without reduction.
He hailed the historical ties with Sudan, a downstream country itself.
Cairo, Al-Sisi said, is for a strong Syrian state, which also takes into consideration the will of the Syrian people.
Egypt also backs the resolve of the Yemeni people who reject chaos and division, Al-Sisi maintained. Yemen must not turn into fertile soil for civil wars, he stressed, adding this would not be acceptable.
Al-Sisi also spoke of his regret about the situation in Iraq, which has become home to terrorists aiming to destroy the whole region.
For the sake of the Arab people
He called on all parties to live up to their responsibilities in rebuilding trust among Arab countries for the sake of the Arab people.
The president asserted that the Egyptian army is fully prepared to carry out missions to maintain the security and stability of Egypt and its borders, reiterating that the safety of Gulf Arab states is part and parcel of Egypt’s national security.
Al-Sisi said that Egypt has been the first to sound the alarm against the spread of terrorism and attempts by international parties to support extremist groups to confront other international parties in the region .
He voiced his belief that many international powers have recognised the status quo and are making strenuous efforts to combat terrorism.
In the second part of his interview with the Saudi newspaper’s editor-in-chief, the president said that Egypt has its own approach towards important and vital issues in the region.
Equality and mutual respect
Al-Sisi said that after the 30 June revolution last year Egypt is establishing its international relations on the basis of equality, mutual respect and non-interference in other countries’ affairs.
The president also reaffirmed Egypt’s role in the region, especially the Palestinian cause, asserting that this issue will remain on top of Egypt’s foreign policy agenda.
The Egyptian president again voiced thanks to the Saudi monarch for his call to hold a donors’ conference for Egypt, noting that there is full coordination between the two countries to render the conference a success.
Concerning the projects that will be floated during the conference, Al-Sisi said the Suez Canal Corridor Development, which is another project different from the new Suez Canal project, will figure high on the conference’s agenda.
It will also include several private investment and development projects in the fields of industry, trade, mining, shipping, factories, agricultural projects, with international tourism and a shopping city that will be built in the Suez Gulf.
Al-Sisi said that the Egyptian army has achieved a great deal of success, citing the recent tactical maneuvre “Badr 2014″, which was carried out using live ammunition, the largest of its kind in the history of the Armed Forces.
The president added that the Zat al-Sawari maneuvre reflects the development in the Egyptian navy’s capabilities in confronting potential maritime threats and aggression, such as surface-to-surface missiles launched from speed boats or gunboats.
Security of the Arab Gulf
He reiterated that the security of the Arab Gulf region is a red line that should not be transgressed and is considered part and parcel of Egypt’s national security.
Al-Sisi made it clear that fighting terrorism should be made with comprehensive vision, not only the military aspect, but also the developmental factor, including economic and social dimensions.
As regards the relations between Egypt and Russia, the president said his visit to Russia was mainly to forward the interests of Egypt, affirming that Egypt has never adopted a policy of antagonism with any country.
Al-Sisi noted “The New Egypt” is moving ahead to achieve the best interests of the nation and people.
Establishing a Palestinian state
Regarding the Palestinian issue and Egypt’s vital role in Mideast peacemaking, the president highlighted the necessity of establishing a Palestinian state on the June 1967 borders in order to end the long-standing conflict, urging the Israeli people and their leaders to work for peace, which will serve their best interests.
Al-Sisi also gave the example of Egypt’s success in reaching a ceasefire in Gaza, reiterating that Egypt will proceed in its march to achieve a just and permanent peace, based on the Arab peace initiative which was floated by the Saudi King during the Beirut Summit in 2002.
The president called on Arab countries to consolidate their efforts and actively contribute to achieving stability and maintaining security in the region, which is a vital passage for international trade movement and a source of energy and wealth.
Impact on the economy
Asked about the decline in tourism in Egypt and its impact on the economy, Al-Sisi said uncertainty about security has had an impact on tourism over the past three years. Now many countries have lifted their travel ban on Egypt.
On the subject of Egyptian-Turkish and Egyptian-Qatari relations, the president said there are steps that should be taken first before talking about efforts to bring viewpoints closer.
There should be a political will and practical steps for such parties to eliminate tension and restore normal relations with Egypt, he concluded.