On the sidelines of the ongoing World Youth Forum in Egypt’s Red Sea resort Sharm al-Shaikh, US TV channel CNBC and London-based Arabic newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat conducted interviews with Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, in which he discussed a host of issues related to the domestic and international affairs.
Egypt Independent summarizes the topics that the president discussed.
The 2018 Presidential Elections:
Sisi asserted that he will not exceed the presidential term limits, which according to the constitution is restricted to two terms, each consisting of four years.
The president said that he will not ask parliament to amend the constitution’s articles related to the presidential terms, asserting that presidents should respect the constitution.
“No president will be able to stay in power more than the two terms set in the constitution and the law, I personally object to any amendments of the current two terms of the presidency post,” Sisi said in his interview with CBNC.
Terrorism in North Sinai
In response to questions raised by Asharq Al-Awsat regarding the Egyptian government’s efforts to eliminate the presence of the militants in North Sinai, Sisi noted that the Egyptian Armed Forces are responding effectively to these attacks.
He further stressed that the attacks launched by ‘terrorists’ are only being carried out within a limited area of the Peninsula, representing 2 percent of the total area of Sinai.
“We all should take into consideration the presence of civilians in these confrontations. The presence of civilians pushes the Armed Forces to be very careful while executing countering operations to eliminate terrorists” Sisi said.
The Arab boycott of Qatar
On the Arab diplomatic boycott of Qatar, Sisi said that there are ‘evil’ powers that are targeting Egypt and the whole region, consisting of extremist entities and regional countries that are seeking to destabilize the Middle East.
“The Arab countries should co-operate to defend their national security and stability against trials that aim to disseminate chaos and instability. Egypt has, with other Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia and UAE, adopted a stance towards the country that is sponsoring terrorism” he added.
The anti-Qatar alliance has demanded that the tiny Gulf nation suspends what they deem to be the support for terrorism and interference in other countries internal affairs.
On relations with the desert kingdom to the east, Sisi said that Saudi Arabia is achieving remarkable progress under the rule of the King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz and his crown prince Mohamed Bin Salman. They are pursuing a rational policy in the economic, political and social fields, he added.
“I would like to express my admiration for what is going on inside Saudi Arabia from giant reclamation steps that will leave positive impacts inside the kingdom and outside it. t\The kingdom is adopting a moderate policy that aim to counter extremism” he said.
Egypt’s stance on the Syrian crisis
Moving to the topic of the ongoing Syrian conflict, the Egyptian leader highlighted that his country has pursued a consistent policy that is based on supporting the presence of a unitary state, territorial integrity and the backing of a national army to protect the sovereignty of the country.
“We are supporting the national state and army in Syria, not the sectarian militias that will lead to the collapse of countries and open endless wars. We reject all attempts to divide countries on sectarian and extremist bases” he said.
On relations with the United States, Sisi said that the relationship with Washington is strategic, and enriching that relationship lies in the interest of both nations.
“These relations were subjected to pressures in 2011, however, during the era of the current US President Donald Trump, these relations will be back and enriched,” he noted.
Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam’s effect on Egypt
Regarding the effect that the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam project would have on Egypt, Sisi said that the Nile is considered a matter of life or death for Egypt and its people. Egypt’s policy is therefore based on achieving co-operation between all entities to secure Egypt’s interests, while being attentive to the interests of other nations.
The World Youth Forum, announced by Sisi in April, kicked off on Sunday with the participation of thousands of Egyptian and foreign youth, dignitaries and tourists. It will span over six days and is expected to host at least a dozen world leaders.