Reading between the lines of the presidential inauguration

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Al-Sisi’s inauguration ceremony had a more profound significance and broader objectives than just a mere celebration. Beyond the surface achievements of the event, other aims emerged.

Firstly, Egypt’s determination to carry out the steps of the road map, and put the period of the Muslim Brotherhood’s rule definitively in the past. The ceremony stressed Egypt’s stability as it advanced along its political path, ignoring the Brotherhood’s threats. After all, they could not put an end to the road map, nor stop the process of taking back the Egyptian state.

A second aim of the celebration was to send a message to the whole world that Egypt is more than capable of preserving its traditions, and rising to the forefront once again. Despite the terrorist tactics habitually used by the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters both inside and abroad, the state developed the best-laid plan to secure Egypt’s visitors, delegates and representatives of international and regional organisations.

Security and symbolic aspects were not the only characteristics marking the inauguration, it had evident political ones as well. It showed clearly that Egypt is opening new horizons of cooperation and peaceful relations with Arab, African and international countries surrounding it. Egypt was shown as adopting the peaceful approach of solving conflicts according to international norms and conventions.

As far as Arab countries are concerned, the inauguration emphasised Egypt’s resolve to play an important role in the region whether regarding Gulf security, the Palestinian issue or any other point of mutual concern. The Arab attendees of the ceremony were of great stature, or at least of a high diplomatic level. This reflected the interest of  Arab countries in clearly supporting the need for Egypt to be in the forefront once again. They understand that Egypt wishes to be able to face regional challenges through dialogue, respect for the will of other countries, and non-interference in their internal affairs.

With regards to Africa, the inauguration reflected Egypt’s wish to end an era of negligence and arrogance towards African states and to start with a clean slate. The new era should then be characterised by sharing responsibility with African states to achieve progress and solve the continent’s chronic problems. The African presence at the celebration highlighted the desire to promote Egypt’s role as a major participant in boosting development in the continent.

The ceremony’s significance was not limited to the symbolic and moral aspects related to reviving the state’s traditions. It also outlined Egypt’s future policies and priorities during the new president’s term in office. Moreover, it was the biggest practical propaganda working towards the new Egyptian foreign policy without engaging in any direct discourse. What Egypt needs now is to simply implement its policy.

The inauguration was a means for Egypt to make implicit admission to its faulty foreign policies. Egypt is keen on expressing its intention to start over with African and Arab nations in order to promote cooperation and dialogue, which are necessary to overcome common obstacles in the way of prosperity and progress.

Abdel-Alim Mohamed is a counsellor at Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies.