Egypt: Sisi Remarks With a Group of Foreign Journalists On the Sidelines the WYF

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi said that the State attaches importance to the awareness file through an integrated system, affirming his belief in the freedom of expression is clear, as he has always been keen on ensuring that there is much communication with Egyptians with utmost transparency.

Sisi made the remarks during his meeting on Thursday 13/1/2022 with a group of foreign journalists on the sidelines of the fourth edition of the World Youth Forum (WYF) that is currently held in the Red Sea resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh.

The president said the WYF has become a very good platform for discussion, noting that it has touched on topics that affect the whole world.

It has also become an opportunity to exchange visions and review different opinions, he added.

President Sisi asserted his keenness on listening to various other opinions, warning in the same time about the danger of imposing anybody's views on any country.

This is the approach that is sought by extremist religious groups, the president added.

In this regard, Sisi emphasized the need to believe in pluralism, diversity and difference, not only from a religious perspective, but also from cultural, intellectual and political ones.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi said that what was achieved over the past seven years was due to security and stability in the Egyptian street.

The Egyptian people want to live in security, he affirmed during his meeting with foreign correspondents on the sidelines of the 4th edition of the World Youth Forum (WYF).

Egypt needs about $20 billion annually in order to cover the Egyptian expenditures, he noted.

Egypt's economic and financial situation cannot be compared with some European and foreign countries, he affirmed.

President Sisi refused considering the approach he works with as the absolute approach that others should adopt.

"The past 10-year period was not short to judge that the change that took place in the region was for the better," Sisi said, stressing the needs for an ordinary gradual development to happen in a timely manner.

The president warned of the consequences of adopting the "absolute truth" approach, and what follows it from an absolute political path.

The president said although it is right that some opinions consider poverty rates in Egypt high, he pointed out that the country has a population of 100 million, wondering how the State could maximize the use of resources in a way that helps it ensure a good income for each person.

All funds available in the State budget only accounts for 10 percent of the needed expenditures in a big country like Egypt which requires a trillion dollars to deal with these issues.

The president stated that the tourism industry was hit hard in the past few years, and thus Egypt did not manage to benefit from this key sector as a stable source of income, such as the UK, the US, France and Spain.

President Sisi pointed out that the country's revenues from tourism reached nearly USD 14 billion before 2011.

He asserted that the 2011 incidents had greatly affected the tourism industry.

The president underlined that freedom of expression and opinion is guaranteed, saying that he accepts constructive criticism that contributes to advancing the State and not destroying it.

He urged mass media to be objective when covering issues in the country.

The president added that the developed countries took time to make progress in different fields, noting that they did not come under any pressure.

President Sisi asked western countries to give Egypt the chance to advance without exercising any pressures that could harm the country.

The president called on the West not to restrict human rights to the freedom of expression and opinion.

President Sisi asserted that Egypt adopts moderate and positive policies when dealing with different world challenges.

Answering a question by the Associated Press on Egypt's stance as regards the Sudan October 25 incidents, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi reiterated Egypt's unshakable policy of non-interference in other countries' domestic affairs.

Sisi continued that conditions in Sudan require a political consensus among all the political powers there to end the current quagmire. This deadlock requires a transition period, ending up with holding elections.

Sudan is seen as an extension to Egypt's national security, Sisi pointed out, adding that its stability is very significant, but that wouldn't be achieved without reaching a political consensus.

Does the lack of remarks from the Egyptian side mean that Egypt doesn't support dialogue and consensus among the political powers in Sudan, Sisi affirmed "of course not."

Egypt's stance towards Sudan is identical to that concerning Libyan developments two years ago, which underscored the importance of resorting to dialogue to reach a consensus and restore stability.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi said that Egypt has witnessed a "very very tough" experiment of disagreement and protests, which affected the country's fragile economy, followed by difficult decisions that should be incurred by all citizens.

Sisi called on all Sudanese people to agree on reaching a political consensus to cruise their country forward to safety.

This track is much better than sustaining instability which would cost the country's present and future, Sisi said.

Egypt is keen on maintaining stability of all the region, not only Sudan's, as this would be a development locomotive, he added.

Asked about how Egypt handled the crisis of the Renaissance Dam amid the running Ethiopian developments, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi said that since he came to office he opted to resort to quiet negotiations away from tensions, affirming that settling this crisis could be reached through a binding legal agreement on filling and operating the dam.

Faced by the Ethiopian stubborn stance and procrastination, Egypt decided to resort to the UN Security Council to accelerate reaching an international agreement on filling and operating the dam, Sisi said.

Egypt looks to the Ethiopians with appreciation and respect, but this would not be at the expense of water, he stressed.

Egypt has embarked on strategic plans to optimize and rationalize the use of its water resources six years ago, including water reclamation, Sisi said, adding that it plans to be one of the first countries in the world to recycle water through a three-year plan.

He called on the Ethiopians to reach a legally binding framework on filling and operating the Renaissance Dam, which could give room to cooperation and development among Egypt, Sudan, and all the African states, not only the Nile River Basin countries.

Answering a question on the possibility of issuing a united and common visa for the African Union, similar to the EU, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi underscored Egypt's support to all aspects of development and cooperation among the African countries.

Sisi noted that during Egypt's presidency of the African Union, he was keen on tackling different issues in Africa, including the infrastructure, the framework free trade agreement and others, adding that the common visa is an advanced topic.

He pointed out that Egypt is cooperating now with a group of commissioners in Africa to make the climate change conference (COP27), slated to be held by Egypt, an opportunity to speak about the most affected countries by the climate change issue and those in need the most for support to overcome such phenomenon. Commenting on attempts of obliterating the Egyptian identity, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi said such acts are well observed by the government and will be carefully faced.

Speaking to foreign reporters on the sidelines of the WYF, Sisi said the development of mass communication and its negative impacts on the younger generation has been monitored by the government and under control.

The president stressed that supporting the factors of raising the humanitarian awareness in Egypt has a key role in protecting the Egyptian identity from obliteration, highlighting the significance of the roles of media, drama, and families in raising the children along with the roles of schools and places of worship.

Addressing a question by Saudi Okaz newspaper on efforts of renewing the religious discourse and its impacts on youth, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi said that this requires underscoring the notion that difference is one of the universe laws, which would pave the way for accepting others of different believes or faiths, or even those unbelievers of any divine religious.

The president reiterated the importance of taking much care of the topic of diversity and difference in schools, institutes, and universities along with the drama content.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi said that Egypt saw terrorism as one of the most dangerous risks that jeopardize the stability of the African continent and its progress.

He stressed the importance of concerted efforts and cooperation among African countries to uproot this phenomenon and restore stability, reiterating Egypt's readiness to working closely with the African states in this regard through exchanging expertise, and training in fighting terrorism.

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