Sisi: Climate change challenges Arab development
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi during his visit to New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly - YOUM7/Essam Elshamy

CAIRO: President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi highlighted the challenges of climate change in brief opening remarks on behalf of Arab states Tuesday following the opening ceremony of the United Nations Climate Summit 2014 in New York City.

“The Arab world is caught up in the challenge of facing the energy crisis in the same time Arab states are trying to develop. Additionally, the region suffers from climate change due to its vast desert areas,” Sisi said, emphasizing the importance of collective efforts to establish an agreement on policies preventing climate change.

Sisi also stressed shared responsibility in achieving sustainable development. He said that renewable energy is among his top priorities, adding, “I call on developed countries, financial institutions and the private sector to invest in related projects.”

His remarks follow an invitation to world leaders by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to present actions and new initiatives concerning the world climate situation. Ban had stated that the world must limit global warming to two degrees, warning world leaders of consequences of climate change ahead of the summit.

Sisi headed to New York City on Sept. 21 to attend the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA,) which officially opened on September 16.

After meeting Sisi, a statement from Ban’s office said he had expressed concern about the absence of due process for detainees and sentencing of journalists in Egypt, and he defended rights to freedom of expression and association.

Egypt’s 2013 protest law is among the most debated issues in today’s political scene, as a number of well-known activists and politicians launched a hunger strike campaign to express their discontent.

During his stay on Monday, Sisi met with a number of U.S. figures, including Henry Kissinger, Madeleine Albright and members of the Egyptian-American Chamber of Commerce. Sisi also met with Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Sisi’s visit stirred different reactions among U.S. citizens, especially those of Egyptian origin; the International Association for Egyptians Abroad announced in a Monday press statement they welcomed the president’s visit.

On the other hand, nine anti-Sisi protesters were reportedly arrested at the airport after verbally assaulting the Egyptian delegation of journalists which landed in New York on Sunday, MENA reported. The protesters raised a Muslim Brotherhood Rabaa sign and insulted the journalists, calling them “dogs of the murderer,” in reference to Sisi.

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