Egypts international position increasingly unclear as its president delivers vague speech
- Egypt calls on Syrian leaders to meet in Cairo to formulate a clear plan
- Al-Sisi defends his role in Yemen
President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi used his address at the UN General Assembly in New York on 28 September to reassert Egypts commitment to fighting terrorism across the region.
Egypt and the Middle East have been, in recent years, confronted with a danger that requires creating brighter prospects and opportunities for youth, he said, adding that counter-terrorism efforts had, so far, been defensive.
Alongside those efforts, world leaders need to channel the energy of youth away from extremists and false ideas, and towards a peaceful future.
Al-Sisis speech, which was heavily focused on security, offered little in terms of tangible actions, especially with regards to the Syrian civil war. He called on Syrian leaders to meet in Cairo to formulate a clear plan for a post-war interim period in accordance with the Geneva Convention.
Al-Sisi did not clarify his position on the role of Syrias President Bashar al-Assads in a post-war Syria, but called on leaders to help build a democratic country that would preserve the Syrian state and its institutions, as well as protect its diversity and national identity.
President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, UN General Assembly speech
He also discussed the war in Yemen and defended Egypts decision to join Saudi-led forces in their operations against Houthi rebels. Egypts political and military support for Yemen and its government have taken place at Yemens request, and stemmed from Egypts commitment to preserving Arab national security, Al-Sisi said.
He went on to say that Egypt has welcomed large numbers of refugees despite the economic burden. The increasing plight of refugees fleeing from destructive armed conflicts reaffirms the need to work towards resolving these conflicts and confronting the scourge of terrorism, a major aggravating factor, the president said.
Al-Sisis speech, which was heavy on rhetoric, concluded by saying: Through [its] nomination to a non-permanent seat in the Security Council for the coming two years, Egypt [aspires] to enhance its role in consolidating international peace and security.
Egypt President Abdul Fattah al-Sisis lack of clarity on several key issues
- No clear position on Bashar al-Assads role in a post-war Syria
- Refers to the scourge of terrorism as a major aggravating factor in the current refugee crises; describes refugees in Egypt as an economic burden, but does not mention Egypts plans and whether refugee numbers will be limited or increased
- Defends Egypts involvement in Yemen and says it took place at Yemens request
- Offers no political position on the fight against terrorism apart from Egypts domestic battle with militants affiliated with jihadist group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria in Northern Sinai and recent air strikes in Libya
- Uses the new Suez Canal as an example of Egypts readiness to press ahead with economic diversification; mentions Egypts economic development roadmap, which was launched in March this year
- It is understood Al-Sisi is meeting with several World Bank and IMF officials this week to discuss several loans, which are likely to be finalised during an IMF visit to Egypt scheduled for the first quarter of 2016
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