President Abdel Fattah El Sisi sat down with the “big three” state-owned dailies for a talk through foreign policy issues. The extensive interview is front-page news this morning in Al Ahram, Al Akhbar, and Al Gomhouria and is the president’s first extensive interview on foreign policy with the domestic press in some time. Since assuming office, El Sisi has led a multi-polar foreign policy that has moved Egypt beyond the traditional positioning as a “trusted interlocutor between Israel and Palestine.” The country has diversified arms suppliers (diluting the United States by adding Russia and France to the list), re-engaged with Africa in general (and, critically, the Nile Basin countries), deepened ties with Europe and returned the relationship with China to a strategic partnership, among other developments. It’s also weathered crises including the furor in Italy, a key trade partner, over the murder of graduate student Giulio Regeni and the downing by terrorists of a flight operated by Russian airline Metrojet over the Sinai.
On relations with Russia, El Sisi said final contracts for the Daba’a will be signed with Russia before the end of the year, explaining that ongoing discussions are focused on the fine print. The president, who characterised bilateral relations as “strong,” also spoke of his hope that Russian tourists would soon return to Egypt
Speaking on the maritime border demarcation treaty which ceded control of Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia, El Sisi framed the agreement as part of wider policy on the need to cooperate on extracting mineral resources. With Saudi Arabia, the move will see joined effort to extract resources from the Red Sea in a manner similar to the treaty with Cyprus, which the president positioned as having “given” Egypt the Zohr field. “Our relationship with Saudi Arabia runs deeper than the aid they provide us,” El Sisi added.
The interview also focused on the ongoing talks with Ethiopia and Sudan on the technical studies for the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which the President said were progressing well. He urged the public to remain calm on the issue stating that “the Nile will continue to flow to Egypt” and the Nile basin countries have given reassurances on that. He added that Sudan’s president Omar Al Bashir is set to visit Egypt in October. The interview briefly talked about the Palestinian-Israeli peace initiative and ties with the US.
Source: National News Agency