Yemen could become "hotbed of tension" threatening neighbours: Sisi

Thursday 25-09-2014 08:46 PM
Yemen could become

CAIRO, Sept 25 (Aswat Masriya) - Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi warned Thursday against Yemen's potential to become a "hotbed of tension" threatening Oman, UAE, and Saudi Arabia, adding that he called upon the officials he has met not to reduce terrorism to the Islamic State (IS), state-run MENA agency reported.

Sisi also discussed terrorism, security, and economic issues in the region as well as the issue of Palestine in his meetings with international officials in New York, adding that the officials expressed their "conviction of Egypt's stand against the threat of terrorism".

In a meeting with editors-in-chief of Egyptian newspapers, Sisi presented the accomplishments of the New York visit, which ends today, where he has held around 40 meetings with the leaders of France, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

"How could we be forced to either approve extremism or face execution," the president wondered, emphasising that this isn't what Islam stands for.

Egyptian nationals abroad need to understand the situation in Egypt, Sisi said, asserting the need to devise a strategy for the state and the media to "constantly keep them on our mind".  He described a ministry for Egyptian expats as "not enough", citing the necessity to fulfill the state's obligations toward them.

Sisi met with former U.S. Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and Madeleine Albright at his current New York residence earlier on Monday, where they discussed the current developments in Egypt and the region.

He met a group of businessmen of the American Chamber of Commerce, state-run MENA agency reported, with whom he reviewed the measures taken by Egypt to stimulate investment in light of the grand projects currently being executed in the country.

The president also met with members of the Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU), which was established as a White House initiative under former U.S. President Eisenhower in 1995 to promote "dialogue and alliances between world businesses and political leaders."

Sisi embarked on a trip to the U.S. on Sunday, his first since he was elected president in June, to represent Egypt in the United Nations' General Assembly's 69th session. Sisi will also attend the UN Climate Summit, scheduled for September 23 in New York.

The United States Department of State invited Egypt's president to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama during the former's visit to New York, a presidency source told Aswat Masriya.

The source, who preferred to remain anonymous, said that the presidents' meeting is expected to be held on Thursday. He added that Sisi agreed to the meeting to "present Egypt's stance toward terrorism."

Sisi would stress on the importance of combating terrorism in general and not only Islamic State fighters in Iraq, the source said.

During a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Saturday, Sisi said the newly formed coalition should fight other militant groups in the region and not just Islamic State fighters.

Egypt's relations with the U.S. have been tense since the military ouster of former Islamist President Mohamed Mursi in July 2013 at the hands of Sisi. 

The U.S. announced temporarily halting part of its 1.3 billion-dollar military aid to Egypt last October pending "credible progress toward an inclusive, democratically elected civilian government through free and fair elections."

In January, the U.S. congress passed a bill resuming the aid in installments and under certain conditions. U.S. Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel confirmed to his Egyptian counterpart Sedki Sobhi the U.S. plans to deliver 10 Appache helicopters in support of Egypt's counter-terrorism efforts, the Pentagon announced on Saturday.

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