President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said Egypt is fighting a war against terrorism and for social and economic development
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi praised and honored on Tuesday policemen killed in recent years in a celebration marking Police Day, saying that Egypt is “fighting a vicious war and the whole world knows that it is fighting it alone.”
El-Sisi said Egypt has been fighting a 40-month war fought by “men who took the responsibility to protect Egyptians,” referring to policemen.
The president called on the Egyptian people to support the police and all state institutions. El-Sisi warned that the war against the country aims to divide it, saying that there were attempts in 2011 to create a division between the police and army and between the people and the army.
The state has recently seized $400 million worth of explosives, the president said, implying that a lot of money has been funneled to terrorist groups.
Egypt has been battling a militant insurgency in North Sinai, which has killed hundreds of security forces in recent years. Attacks have reached further than Northern Sinai, and have also occurred in the capital city.
In December, a suicide bomber detonated a bomb in a church attached to Cairo’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral, in an attack that killed 28 civilians.
In Tuesday’s remarks, El-Sisi said he had received a phone call from recently inaugurated US President Donald Trump, who asked about the state of Egypt’s economy.
“I told him that for 40 months we have been fighting alone,” El-Sisi said.
In a phone conversation on Monday the two presidents discussed the war against terrorism, an Egyptian presidential spokesman announced. The spokesman said that Trump told El-Sisi his administration is committed to maintaining US annual military aid to Egypt.
Egypt receives $1.3 billion in military aid from the US every year.
The Egyptian president described the economic development as another uphill battle the country is fighting.
El-Sisi said that considering Egypt’s population growth over the past 60 years, which he said has multiplied by four times since the fifties, economic development should keep up.
The president complained of high divorce rates in Egypt, which he said reach 40% in the first five years of marriage. He blamed these rates for problems with child negligence and high unemployment rates.
“There is no reform without pain,” El-Sisi said on Tuesday, defending an economic reform plan which Egypt has embarked on since 2014.
Egypt has introduced a number of recent fiscal reforms, including subsidy cuts and the introduction of new taxes, aimed at stemming a growing budget deficit. Last November, the central bank freely floated the Egyptian pound with the aim of alleviating a dollar shortage.
El-Sisi has promised that the state would work to protect the “weakest” sectors of society from the possible negative impact of these reforms.
Egypt’s annual headline inflation reached an eight-year high of 24.3 percent in December.
“In this [economic reform] plan we need more security and safety and that puts responsibility on the police,” El-Sisi said.