CAIRO: President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi called United Nations Member States Wednesday to
support Egypt’s bid for a non-permanent seat on the Security Council from 2016-2017 to
“achieve the interests of developing countries,” and also invited them to attend Egypt’s economic
summit in February.
“Egypt has suffered from terrorism since the 1920s, when the harbingers of this thought began to
spread its poison under the guise of religion to reach power and establish a caliphate with armed
violence and terrorism as a means to achieve its objectives,” Sisi said in his speech to the U.N.
General Assembly, his first as president of Egypt.
“They (extremists) should not be allowed to defame Islam and 1.5 billion Muslims, who hold on
to its sublime values.”
The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in Egypt in 1928, reached power through Mohamed
Morsi, the first democratically elected president of Egypt. After one year of governance marred
by turmoil, Morsi was ousted by Sisi, then Minister of Defense, in July 2013. The group has
since faced its deadliest crackdown since it was founded by its spiritual leader Hassan el-Banna.
“The forces of extremism and darkness undermined the foundations of democracy and state
institutions and sought to impose polarization once it came to power,” Sisi said.
Regarding Egypt’s neighbors, Sisi said that regional countries facing crises can solve their
problems in two ways: to build a national state and confront terrorism.
Those states should ensure principles of citizenship and rule of law based on a social contract
and national consensus, providing all rights, especially the right to a comprehensive development
to fortify societies against exploitation from the “extremist thought,” he said.
In an interview in New York with journalist Charlie Rose, Sisi indicated he may support U.S.
strikes in Iraq against the Islamic State group, but also called on the United States to deliver
military planes including Apache helicopters, whose delivery has been delayed.
At the U.N. podium, Sisi also spoke of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and said that depriving
Palestinians of their rights “leaves room for the exploitation of their righteous cause.”
In a classic demand by Arab leaders, Sisi called for a Palestinian state, although he
controversially called for “East Jerusalem” as its capital; usually Arab leaders just refer to
“Jerusalem” as Palestine’s capital.
Egypt’s former general noted that an outbreak of terrorism is an “epidemic” that does not
differentiate between a developed and a developing society; terrorists belong to different
communities without any real religious creed binding them together.
“This makes it imperative on all of us to intensify cooperation and coordination to dry up the
sources of support that allow terrorist organizations to maintain their crimes.”
“The New Egypt,” according to Sisi’s speech, is a state that respects rights and freedoms, ensures
coexistence of its citizens without exclusion or discrimination where the rule of law, freedom
of opinion and belief are for all. He made no mention of the controversial protest law, which
criminalizes any political rally carried out without official permission by security forces, and has
been criticized by a number of human rights groups.
“The New Egypt is a state that incessantly seeks to achieve growth and prosperity for a
promising future that meets the aspirations of its people.”
The social contract approved by Egyptians in their new constitution establishes the state of
institutions and the rule of law, judicial independence, and separation of powers without falling
against “terrorism,” Sisi said, adding that parliamentary elections would be the final step in the roadmap.
No date has yet been set for the elections.