CAIRO – 25 February 2019: Egypt's President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi robustly responded to recent European calls demanding the cancellation of death sentence in Egypt, urging European states not to impose their will on Arab states.
The European calls come in light of allegations issued by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) concerning obtaining confessions from 15 people before they are executed this month.
"You are speaking about the death sentence, and we respect this, and agree on [your opinion] for you, but I hope you don't impose [your will]," Sisi stated Monday in a press conference following the closing session of the League of Arab States – European Union Summit held on February 24-25 in Egypt’s Sharm el-Shiekh.
"Here, in our countries, in our Arab region, when someone is killed in a terrorist act, the families come to tell me we want a [retaliation] for our sons and their blood, and this is the culture that exists … in this region"
"If I called on European states to reconsider [their decision] and to bring back the death sentence in their [states], it will be considered as [failing] to understand the [situation] and progress that Europeans think it suits them, and it does suit them."
"I speak with the utmost honesty and the utmost confidence, you will not teach us our humanity; we have our own humanity, and have our values, and have our morals, and you have your humanity and have your morals, and we respect it, so respect our morals, ethics and values as we respect your values."
"We are two different cultures … every region has its own circumstances," Sisi stated, addressing the European and Arab communities.
"The priority in the European countries is bringing prosperity to their people, and keeping it, [while] the priority to us in our countries is to protect our states and prevent them from falling, collapsing and being destructed as you can see in many countries near us."
"We should [reach] an understanding, and we have to know that the priorities and goals existing, despite being different, can have common points through which we can deal with each other."
Sisi said that unlike European countries where terrorist attacks rarely occur, Egypt has witnessed "more than hundreds or maybe thousands" of terrorist attacks, over the past five years.
Being surprised by huge applause at the end of Sisi's remarks, Donald Tusk, president of the European Council said: "I appreciate how enthusiastic your media are. It's impossible in Europe to have such a reaction from media … congratulations."