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Egypt’s President Addresses Terrorism, Economy and Yemen

Egypt’s President Addresses Terrorism, Economy and Yemen

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi speaks during a news conference with Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos (not pictured) after their summit at the presidential palace in Cairo, April 23, 2015. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh
Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi speaks during a news conference with Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos (not pictured) after their summit at the presidential palace in Cairo, April 23, 2015. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said that 600 “terrorists” were arrested across the country in April in a televised address late Tuesday.

“These numbers reflect the efforts we exert and the magnitude of the challenges we face,” Sisi said, adding that 188 “terrorists” were arrested in Sinai in a month. He said 150 “terrorist” hotbeds were also destroyed in the peninsula.

According to Sisi, over 80 percent of the tunnels in Sinai’s border town of Rafah have been destroyed. He declared the kilometer long buffer zone tunnel-free.

Last year, the cabinet issued a decision to clear 1,000 meters of the border area with Gaza after discovering some tunnels in the Peninsula over 800 metres long.

Current efforts undertaken to “dry up sources of terrorism” are not enough, the president said, adding that attempts to “renew the religious discourse” in Egypt are not “up to the current challenge”.

Addressing corruption in state apparatuses in Egypt, Sisi said that “we are fighting” corruption on two axes, the first of which is the security and judicial. Meanwhile the second axis is “amending legislations that ease and correct the perfomance of [state] apparatuses.”

According to the president, 344 cases of bribery, embezzlement or profiteering were detected over the past ten months. He added that lands worth around 3.5 billion Egyptian pounds were restored and 135 square meters of land were recovered.

Also internally, the president addressed the Suez Canal, saying that 100 percent of “dry digging” in the New Suez Canal has been accomplished. According to Sisi, the project will be inaugurated on August 6. A number of world leaders have been invited to witness this “great achievement,” he said.

The project will both see the construction of a parallel canal to Egypt’s Suez Canal and the expansion of the existing canal, a vital waterway which brings billions of dollars in revenue annually.

On the regional level, Sisi said that “some nations try to impose their own agendas, and affect our national security,” adding that Egypt’s national security is an integral part of the regional security.

He made a reference to the Egyptian defence council’s decision last week to extend the deployment of troops “with our brothers in the Gulf” for another three months. Egypt is part of the Saudi-led coalition carrying out military operations in Yemen.

Egypt’s relations with its “brothers” in the african continent have been affected, Sisi said, addressing the situation on the African level.

However, we have witnessed the agreements signed between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia, a step which reflects Egypt’s policy which is geared towards cooperation and openness to the african countries and the world, Sisi added.

As part of our strong relationship with our “brothers” in Africa, we will participate in the African Summit, to be held in South Africa in June, Sisi said.

Today’s televised address is the third in a series of speeches which Sisi expressed keenness to repeat monthly back in February.

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Aswat Masriya is a Thomson Reuters Foundation-sponsored website that covers Egypt's transition to democracy. en.aswatmasriya.com

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