Sisi to PBS – Egypt Pivotal State, Relations With Us g, Strategic

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi said Egypt is a pivotal state and an element of stability in the region and is poised to play a key role that no other state can in establishing peace in the Middle East.

In an interview with PBS News network, Sisi said Egyptian-US relations are strategic despite the differences in viewpoints regarding some issues. It is natural, he said. However, they remain stable and g, he added.

Cairo is only asking Washington to realize and appreciate the current situation in Egypt which has been in a state of revolution for four years, he said.

Washington should be aware that the Egyptian people are looking forward to freedom and democracy and are committed to human rights, but at the same time are going through tough conditions in terms of confronting terror on various fronts.

Egypt is in a real and constant confrontation with terror, he said, adding that the Egyptians have started anti-terror efforts a year ago and have been combating terrorist groups in Sinai ever since.

As for the international alliance led by the United States to confront Daesh, Sisi said regardless of names, Egypt is part of this alliance. However, it is necessary not to be carried away with giving various names to terrorist groups, he stressed.

The focus should be on the idea of the comprehensive fighting of terror from all aspects as Egypt is doing now, the president said.

Asked about June 30, Sisi said the will of the Egyptian people was speaking then and is speaking now. The Egyptians realized that their country was facing the peril of fanaticism during the rule of former president Mohamed Morsi and what they went through during that year was not what they had in mind. His rule did not represent the agreement between the ruler and the people upon which the ruler accepts pluralism in political life, he said, stressing that this did not happen.

Morsi stressed the idea of the Muslim Brotherhood group and split among the Egyptians, he said. The problems of Egyptians were very large that the group alone could not handle alone and all the Egyptians should have been included, he added.

Asked about the way Morsi was toppled, Sisi said in the previous constitution there was no mechanism on toppling and trying the president except through the people’s protests. If the will of 30 million Egyptians is described by some as a coup then what the army really did was to abide by the people’s wish.

He stressed that he does not refuse the other opinion but only asks the supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood that they do not resort to violence and terrorism. He called on the supporters of the MB to stop harming the Egyptians and planting bombs in streets, railway stations and power stations.

The will of the Egyptian people will determine the nature of relations with the MB in the future, he said, adding that this will depend on the group’s willingness to discard violence, apologize to the Egyptians and respond to the demands of the people.

As for freedom of expression in Egypt, Sisi said there are no restrictions and freedom of expression has no ceiling in Egypt and this is final. The government has not interfered to suspend a comic program, he stressed.

As for the Aljazeera journalists issue, Sisi said he wished that this problem never existed. He said his personal opinion is to deport them before having them stand trial. However, he added, now that their case is being handled by the Egyptian judiciary then he cannot interfere. The independence of the judiciary should be respected and this is for the best interest of all the citizens, he said.

Asked about the financial aid received by Egypt from the Gulf states recently, Sisi said this aid has played a key role in preventing the collapse of the state economy. Egypt was facing tough economic problems due to the regress in the tourism revenues and a number of other problems including energy supplies and power cuts, he said.

The Egyptian economy is now in a better position but still needs more aid and investments to enhance its structure and provide new jobs, he added.

Asked about his role as a military commander who assumed power after two revolutions, he said his role now is to protect Egypt and the Egyptians, to realize security for the homeland and the people, provide better economic conditions for a better living and to reach the aspirations of the Egyptians that were expressed during the January 25 revolution.

President Sisi said that Egypt has faced the problem of tunnels for a long time which threatened the national security particularly that smuggling operations were carried out through these tunnels.

Egypt opens the Rafah crossing before passengers and allows the transit of humanitarian aid to the Palestinians and there is no problem with that, he said.

As for ending the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and establishing peace in the Middle East, Sisi said the main problem lies in the political will to end the conflict based on international resolutions and the establishment of the Palestinian state on the June 1967 borders. The two sides should reach a ceasefire and then begin negotiations to reach a final solution, he added.

Source : Egypt State Information Service