In an interview with the major Saudi newspaper Okaz published on Tuesday, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi praised Saudi Arabic for its immediate support to Egypt following the ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood from power.
In the interview, Sisi described King Abdallah Ibn Abdel Aziz as “the wise man of the Arabs,” explaining that his intervention in Egypt after the June 30 protests demanding the end of Mohamed Morsi’s rule was not a hasty one, but a well-calculated move based on an assessment of events in the overall region following the 2011 events.
Sisi also praised Saudi Arabia for initiating the call for an international conference aimed at supporting Egypt economically and said that during this conference, major national projects will be pitched, such as the Suez Canal Development Project as well as a series of new agricultural and industrial projects.
Sisi then stated that, in the wake of these past three years, many world powers tried to push for a new regional order in the Middle East in order to consolidate a stronger position for themselves. However, when this aspiration failed, and only led to civil wars and instability, these powers lost much of their credibility. “There is unwavering awareness now by international powers regarding the reality in the region and this consciousness is translated into counter-terrorism efforts,” he said.
Sisi added that although many foreign powers supported terrorist groups in order to advance their ambitions for political change in the region, Egypt is supporting these powers today in their counter-terrorism efforts. He noted that Egypt participated in the Washington counter-terrorism meeting, which included armed forces chiefs of staff from several countries, and which also saw the absence of military representatives from the region. For years, Egypt has always defended its counter-terrorism efforts, particularly in front of the US, he stated.
The president said that Egypt’s relations with Russia and the US under his rule are not competitive and are only pursued in the country’s interests, fending off speculations that Egypt is trying to strengthen relations with Moscow in order to pressure Washington.
As for Qatar and Turkey, which have seen souring relations with Egypt since Morsi’s ouster, Sisi said that a rapprochement with these two countries depends on the political will of their leaders, dismissing that this will exists at the moment.
The interview was conducted by the newspaper’s chairman, Hashem Abdo Hashem, who met Sisi in the Ettehadiya Palace last week.