Sisi opens dialogue with Egypt’s youth on political, economic, security issues

President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi participated in the ‘Ask the President’ forum Monday evening, as part of the three-day state-sponsored Youth Conference in Alexandria city.

The ‘Ask the President’ initiative took place on the first day of the conference. Sisi sat in the company of the young Egyptian participants at the event, who were allowed freely ask the presidents questions they had on their mind.

During the session, Sisi received questions from the young attendees on different issues that included politics, the economy and national security. His answers, along with the rest of the conference, were broadcasted live on state-run TV channels.

Egypt Independent has provided a summary of some of the questions raised by the young attendees to the president along with his responses.

How does Egypt see the recent clashes in Jerusalem?

In his response, Sisi called on the Israeli government and the people to respect Muslims’ feelings towards their holy places. The question was in reference to the recent clashes between young Palestinians and Israeli security forces stationed around the Muslims’ holy mosque of ‘Al-Aqsa’ in Jerusalem city.

He further asserted that it is necessary that the Israeli people and government avoid measures that involve Muslim holy places as this leads to emotionally provocation, saying that Egypt will not fuel an escalation of the clashes; and instead calls on all entities there to live peacefully and avoid hatred.

What are the government’s achievements in countering terrorism?

In regard to counter-terrorism measures in Egypt, Sisi stressed that the Middle East region had suffered from political intervention from the region’s countries’ internal affairs the past seven years, through support of extremist groups, this has led to the deterioration of conditions in a number of the regions’ countries.

“Egypt was facing a similar fate as these countries, it is well-known to all people that Egypt does not interfere in other countries’ affairs and does not conspire against any one, Egypt has been called to deal with all terrorism groups as one entity, even if these groups have different names, they have common principles and ideologies,” Sisi said.

The president added that Egypt has remained true to its stance against countries that fund terrorism and support extremism, noting that in the last four years many countries have become aware that foreign interference in other countries’ internal affairs lead to the spread of terrorism.

How is Egypt working to eliminate IS in North Sinai?

Sisi said that his military has challenged the most powerful militant group in the world, so it [IS] has decided to take revenge on Egypt through conducting militant attacks.

“The extremist ideology extends through hundreds of years and the elimination of this ideology will take long time, as it requires corrections to the principles and misperceived perceptions of religion,” he explained.

He stressed that the Egyptian armed forces and police are doing their best to protect the country’s borders and eliminate terrorism, adding that security conditions in Egypt are improving.

Are the recent harsh adopted state economic measures beneficial to Egypt?

Moving to questions on the economic status and the recent economic measures undertaken by the government, Sisi responded to questions raised on the effectiveness of the recent economic measures adopted by the state, saying that these measures were inevitable and will contribute in upgrading the economy.

“The government has worked hard to offset the negative effects of these measures through a number of measures such as increasing the state subsidy on foods and pensions,” he explained.

How does the government deal with ‘El-Warraq’ crisis?

The rose from the recent clashes that erupted between security forces and residents of ‘El-Warraq’ island, located near the Giza governorate and led to the death of one citizen as security forces were engaging in implementing a campaign to seize lands stolen from the state.

Sisi answered that theft of state lands has witnessed an unprecedented increase recently, stolen lands have reached 2 million acres, saying that these infractions against state territories took place due the absence of state authority and sovereignty.

“These infringements led to the increase of pollution in the Nile, we as a government will pay attention to the residents of ‘El-Warraq’ island, meanwhile we will not accept any violation against the state and its authority,” he stressed.

Will you run as a candidate in next Presidential elections?

For his response, Sisi coyly called on the citizens to participate effectively in the upcoming elections, as elections are the process that determine the state’s upcoming fate, adding that it is necessary that citizens have the freedom to vote for the candidate they want.

What is the current status of the tourism sector in Egypt?

The Egyptian president pointed out any growth within the tourism sector will need a long run of stable security conditions, and that any entity that seeks Egypt’s destruction will work to destroy tourism first.

“We are working hard to improve tourism in Egypt, the government is planning now to build number of new cities the overlook the Mediterranean to attract more tourists and afford new job opportunities,” he concluded.

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