CAIRO: “We must rely on ourselves; starve for our country, if necessary,” President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi said Monday, thanking the United Arab Emirates for its support, Youm7 reported.
“[The UAE’s] support has not been limited to aid, but has contributed so many other things, along with other Arab brothers who stood beside Egypt through the difficult circumstances it is witnessing,” Sisi said at the inauguration of 19 projects, executed by the Armed Forces, in a video conference at the Air Defense Olympic Village in Cairo.
Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Kuwait have sent much-needed aid and grants to the Egyptian economy, damaged after four years of turmoil, since the 2013 ouster of President Mohamed Morsi. Experts, however, warned that Egypt must achieve the growth it needs to do without gulf aid.
“Obstructing” the Economic Summit, citizens’ morale
Sisi emphasized that Egypt is “completely ready” for the mid-March Economic Summit, saying that “some are trying to obstruct” for its high importance for the country at this juncture.
“We fully understand and are ready to sacrifice all what we treasure for our country… no one will be able to obstruct our advancement, because we want to build our country for our children and grandchildren,” Sisi said. He had observed a minute of mourning at the beginning of the conference for the souls of victims of violence in recent months.
Bombings and arson, acts that have hit security forces and government services since Morsi’s ouster, have been heightened in the days leading to the summit, with many targeting civilians and private properties and businesses.
Also Monday, Interior Ministry spokesperson Hany Abdel Latif told reporters the police are “in full alert and able to secure the entire state, not just Sharm el-sheikh,” where the summit will be held. He added the police realize the nature of the current situation and are “up for the challenge.”
Reiterating previous sentiments that followed anti-military attacks, Sisi underscored the society’s morale against “known enemies.”
“Do not let anyone shake your morale. We knew beforehand all what you witness now. We know them; they are enemies of life, humanity and religion. Mark my words, we are the makers of life, humanity and real religion who respect people and preserve them. We respect people’s freedom, their will and choices, rather than killing, sabotage and destruction. We will be victorious, God willing, and no one can take us backward,” Sisi said.
The former military strongman has cited religion in several of his speeches since he tasked Al-Azhar with a “religious revolution” in January. Faced with brutalities by the Islamic State group in North Sinai and regional countries as well as smaller-scale violence in several governorates, the Egyptian government considers that all Islamists, including the Islamic State group, Boko Haram, and the Muslim Brotherhood, are inspired by “the same sources and ideology.”
“Murder, sabotage and destruction are not from the characteristics of religions. God would never accept humans to speak in his name doing carrying out this scale of sabotage and destruction,” Sisi added.
The President noted that Congress members, who met with him in Cairo this week, asked if he was worried about a fate similar to that of late President Anwar Sadat, who was assassinated by a radical Islamist in 1981.
“Sadat saved hundreds of thousands of Egyptian lives, and if my life is the price of saving the lives of thousands of Egyptians, then it is not a heavy price,” Sisi said.
Then a presidential candidate, Sisi revealed in May 2014 he had survived two assassination attempts.
In September 2013, then Minister of Interior Mohamed Ibrahim survived an assassination attempt, weeks after the violent dispersal of the Rabaa al-Adaweya sit-in that demanded the reinstatement of Morsi.