2 August 2014

Egypt: Sisi - Egyptian Initiative Is Real Chance to End Bloodshed in Gaza

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah El Sisi has asserted that the Egyptian truce initiative is still on the table and can resolve the crisis in Gaza.

"The core of the initiative overcomes the obstacles and paves the way for an effective ceasefire," Sisi told reporters at a joint press conference he held with visiting Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi at the presidential palace on Saturday.

"There is no suggested alternative to the Egyptian initiative," he added. Sisi asserted that there was a real chance to end the crisis.

The president called on all parties to cease fire and give the truce a real opportunity to be followed by negotiations between the Palestinian and Israeli sides.

Meantime, president Sisi said that Italy is Egypt's first European trade partner. He noted that the volume of trade exchange between Egypt and Italy is something close to six billion dollars.

"Italy is Egypt's second trade partner worldwide and the fifth in terms of investments in Egypt, said President Sisi.

He added that his talks with the Italian PM also touched on the situation in Libya, pointing out that the European community has moral, humanitarian, and security commitment toward Libya.

Egypt and Italy agree that violence by the fighting Libyan militias should stop, he said.

The talks also addressed the terrorism file and means to promote economic ties between Egypt, Italy and the EU, he said.

President Sisi said a long-term strategy has to be adopted to combat terrorism.

"A strategy to improve the religious discourse has also to be drawn up in addition to the media that has to cooperate in fighting terrorism and extremism," he went on to say.

For his part, the visiting prime minister said Italy supports Egypt's ceasefire initiative on Gaza, saying it was the only chance to end the crisis.

Egypt and Italy are Libya's neighbors, he said, adding that Italy is exposed to the same danger threatening stability in the region as Egypt.

Terrorism can only be countered through cooperation with Egypt, its government and president, the Italian premier said.

President Sisi, meanwhile, concluded his speech by saying that Egypt is recovering and restoring its status in the region.

Egypt is adopting political, economic and security measures, he said, noting that parliamentary elections will be held before the end of the year.

Despite the harsh economic measures taken over the past few weeks, the Egyptian people have been responsive, said the president, adding that the measures will lead to an improvement in the Egyptian economy.

Egypt is trying to achieve balance in security and human rights measures, he added.

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