President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi stressed on Monday that Egypt would not intervene militarily in the turmoil-hit Libya, describing the neighboring country as a “sovereign state”.
“History won’t forget our stance if we decide to interfere in Libya,” he said in a phone interview with Al Youm TV, his second with the same channel in a bit over a month.
Egypt has been in coordination with General Khalifa Haftar, who controls militia forces loyal to the internationally recognized government in the northeastern part of Libya.
In retaliation against the killing of 20 Copts over a year ago, the Egyptian army conducted air strikes against the Islamic State group in Libya, which Libyan authorities were aware of in advance.
“Libya is a sovereign state, even if there is weakness within it now, and we don’t do that [military intervention] to our people,” al-Sisi added.
al-Sisi’s comments came after dozens of Islamist militants in the Tunisian town of Ben Guerdan, near the Libyan border, attacked army and police posts in a raid that left at least 50 people killed.
The Egyptian army is capable of foiling such attacks near the borders, al-Sisi said.
“You don’t know the power of the Egyptian army. We are awaiting and ready for the evil people.”
Like in previous speeches, El-Sisi went through development projects in Egypt, including in Sinai.
He promised that the peninsula, widely deemed one of the most underdeveloped areas in the country, will be “fully developed” by the end of his first term in 2018.
al-Sisi said his government set a plan that includes 10 billion EGP ($1.28 billion) worth of development projects in Sinai. The execution timeframe might be up to one year and a half, he said.
The former army in chief highlighted that “our brothers” in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia are willing to contribute in the funding of these projects. Both oil-rich countries have been providing Egypt with generous financial aid for over two years.
al-Sisi said new housing has already been built in the restive North Sinai’s Al-Arish city, with 2,000 units ready and 3,000 set to be finished this month.
“As long as I said I will do it, then you will see it,” he said.
When asked what message he would send to his people, al-Sisi said: “I ask Egyptians to know that the government and I are doing our best to change the harsh reality that has accumulated over the years.”
source: Ahram Online