Egypt's Sisi urges dialogue not war to resolve regional crises

Al Ahram

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said on Wednesday that he does not support war in a region which “faces enough turmoil.” "I am not with resolving any issue through war. We have had our experience with war. Wars are always bitter experiences and have very tough consequences," El-Sisi said when asked about the possibility of war with Iran or Hezbollah.

"The region faces enough turmoil," he said, adding that crises can be resolved through "dialogue." El-Sisi made his remarks during a press conference in the Red Sea resort town of Sharm El-Sheikh, as part of the World Youth Forum Egypt is hosting. Earlier this week, Saudi Arabia accused Iran of being behind the firing of a missile at its capital Riyadh by rebels in Yemen and said that it could be regarded an act of war. Iran denied it was behind the missile launch.

Saudi officials also accused Iran's Lebanese ally Hezbollah of "declaring war." El-Sisi reiterated his support for Saudi Arabia, one of Egypt's closest allies, saying that "the security of the Gulf is a red line." When asked about a Saudi campaign of mass arrests of royals and ministers in a massive anti-corruption purge, El-Sisi said he "fully trusts Saudi Arabia's leadership," adding that "no measure taken in the kingdom is not in accordance with law."

During the conference, El-Sisi also addressed his government's efforts to tackle terrorism and economic reform measures. He told Egyptian and foreign reporters that he believed his government was making progress in facing its two main challenges, the economy and terrorism. He said the situation in Sinai, where an Islamist insurgency is based, "is improving day by day."

El-Sisi also stressed that the country is incurring a massive financial cost in its fight against terrorism, which he said exceeds that of regular wars. About the murder of Italian PhD student Giulio Regeni in 2016, which has strained ties with Italy, El-Sisi said: "we are keen on revealing the truth and holding those responsible to account and we are working in full cooperation with the Italian side."

When asked about the upcoming presidential elections, El-Sisi said he would introduce a balance sheet of what he has achieved during his four-year term, which began in May 2014, before he announces if he will run for a second term. "In the coming two months, we will announce what has been achieved and based on people's feedback, we will react about whether or not to run," he said