Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi said in an interview with the Associated Press Saturday night that Egypt’s 40-year-peace with Israel should be expanded to include more Arab countries—while resolving the Palestinian issue.
El-Sissi believes that solving the Palestinian question is the key to changing “the face of the region” with “enormous improvement to the situation…I’m optimistic by nature and I say that there is a great opportunity.”
El-Sissi, 60, was in New York to address a UN summit development and the annual ministerial meeting of the UN General Assembly, which began on Monday.
As to Egypt’s own relationship with the Palestinians, particularly in Hamas-ruled Gaza, El-Sisi reportedly told Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas when they met in New York that the security measures taken by his country along the border with Gaza were not aimed at “harming” Palestinians.
“The measures taken by Egypt to secure its eastern borders are in full coordination with the Palestinian Authority and cannot have the aim of harming our Palestinian brothers in the Gaza Strip,” Sisi’s office said in a statement. “The measures seek to protect the Egyptian borders and maintain Egyptian and Palestinian national security.”
The Egyptian leader told the AP his country’s relationship with the US is “improving” and the two countries’ ties are “strategic and stable.” He added, “The last two years were a real test of the endurance and strength” of the ties with the US.
As to his crackdown hard on the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists, with hundreds killed and thousands arrested, including deposed President Morsi, El-Sissi said: “The problem with the Muslim Brotherhood is not a problem between the government of Egypt and these people. The real problem is between the Egyptian people and the Muslim Brotherhood,” which has left “a very bad impression” which Egyptians “are not able to forgive and forget.”
El-Sissi warned that if Syria were to collapse, all its weapons and equipment would fall into terrorists’ hands, which would “pose a serious threat to the rest of the region, and this is what we fear.”