President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi met Friday with the editors-in-chief of national newspapers. The president touched upon several political and economic issues and disclosed his vision regarding many ongoing events in Egypt.
In the first published part of the interview, Al-Sisi dismissed the recent calls for “11/11 protests”, or what is reportedly called the “revolution of the unprivileged”, saying that Egyptians are aware [of the conspiracy against Egypt] and will not be deceived by the “forces of evil” as any attempts by these foreign forces to incite Egyptians to revolt will fail.
Social media campaigns have lately called for protests on 11 November in opposition to the rising prices, corruption, and the autocrat regime.
Al-Sisi said, during the interview, that Egypt is living in an era free of the diseases that plagued the beginning of the decade and that hard measures should be taken to escape this critical period. He added that he knew all about these measures before he took office as president and he was upfront and honest from the beginning.
When Al-Sisi was running as a presidential candidate, he vowed that it would take him two years to achieve significant progress; however, more than two years into his presidency, Egypt is experiencing severe political and economic turmoil.
He went on to say that amid these severe measures, he will ensure that the state subsidies will reach people in need as they are at the top of his priorities.
There is no media content existing currently that represents the real situation in Egypt, Al-Sisi asserted, adding that some outlets and social media platforms paint it as a frustrating state that will demolish hope, “and no state or citizens can live without hope”.
“Some people publish news which is not in the interest in the state and its national security, instead it is based on wrong information and a narrow vision,” Al-Sisi said, adding that the role of the media is to enlighten the people and help raise awareness.
Regarding social media platforms, Al-Sisi said that he already tackled this issue, and that many forget that these platforms can be used by foreign bodies to destroy the state. In April 2016, Al-Sisi said during a speech that he could shut off access to social media pages with two web brigades and reopen them to disseminate whatever information he wanted. The warning was given after the circulation of satirical information that the state deemed negative.
Al-Sisi gave an example of the implications of false reporting: during his meeting with Sudanese president Omar Al-Bashir, the latter said that media reported that Egyptian agricultural commodities are irrigated with sewage water.
According to Al-Sisi, laws will be implemented against monopolies and severe measures will be taken against corruption. He also added that the armed forces would initially play a major role in the development process; however, he added that this role will gradually decrease after the necessary proponents of state infrastructure are established
He added that the armed forces are capable and qualified to secure Egypt from any threats that would seek to destabilise Egypt or the region. Regarding the counter-terrorism operations in Sinai, the president said that the situation in Sinai is improving, though the fight against terrorism is a continual one.
Twelve military conscripts were killed on Friday in an exchange of fire with militants in North Sinai.