FILE - President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi
CAIRO - 10 March 2019: President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi attended on Sunday the celebration held by the Egyptian Armed Forces at Al Manara International Conferences Center on the occasion of the ‘Martyr Day’ marking March 9 which is the anniversary of late Chief of Staff Abdel Moneim Riad.
General Riad martyred on March 9, 1969 during an Israeli attack on Suez Canal. Israel had occupied Sinai during the Six-day War that started on June 5, 1967. Few months later, Egypt started the Attrition War that gave rise to the 1973 war causing the total destruction of Bar Lev Line and the seizure of 20 kilometers in Sinai by the Egyptian army.
Riad, dubbed the “Golden General,” took part in World War II, 1948 War with Israel, Tripartite Aggression in 1956, and the Six-Day War in 1967, and War of Attrition. He also supervised the the plan Egypt designed during the War of Attrition years for destroying the Bar Lev Line.
A documentary was aired showing the heroism and sacrifices of the Egyptian military personnel, and the endurance of the Egyptian people in time of war throughout history.
Later on, Chairman of the the Parliamentary Committee on Information, Culture and Antiquities Osama Heikal did a brief presentation on how social media are the main platform in present for circulating rumors worldwide.
President Sisi talked about November 11, 2011 when the clashes of Mohamed Mahmoud St. in Caior’s downtown near Tahrir square took place between protesters and security forces.
The president described the groundless allegations that were circulating at the time against the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) with regard its intentions as attempts to destroy the country.
The president added that the purpose was pressuring the SCAF to leave the power as it was in charge of ruling the country during the transitional period until 2012 presidential election was held. The ballot resulted in the victory of Mohamed Morsi who is affiliated with the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood and was toppled over mass protests on July 3, 2013. That incurred a terror wave targeting churches, and buildings of state institutions.
The president stated that when he was the Chief of Military Intelligence and Reconnaissance, he sat with all political sects, including Islamists, and told them that they would not be able to deal with Egypt’s challenges adding that even their ideas would not help.
The president stressed that he was honest about the problems of the country highlighting that stability is key to overcome difficulties. He shed light on the initiative taken to eliminate Hepatitis C which would not succeed in a troubled country.
Response to Criticism
The president commented on the criticism over building an infrastructure in the New Administrative Capital (NAC) in a cost of LE200 billion by naming the other new cities which are being constructed all over the country.
The president explained that the new roads network gives value to the lands so that the money paid by developers are used to fund the construction of the infrastructure in all new cities including NAC.
Call for Patience and Endurance
The president stated that 200 protests broke out in four years questioning, “how people would be able to make a living and how tourism would recover.” ‘Stability equals investment,” the President added.
“Now we will honor mothers and wives of the martyrs. You talk to me about bread (food) and they talk to me about the blood of their children and husbands,” the president said.
Cairo Railway Station blaze
“Everyone involved will be held accountable by law,” President Sisi commented on the Cairo Railway Station blaze that occured weeks ago. The driver of a tractor train stepped off without ensuring it has stopped so it slid in a high speed hitting another whose tank was full of fuel causing a blaze that resulted in deaths and injuries.
The incident was detected by surveillance cameras. After the driver was arrested, it turned out that he was not dismissed from his work because of outdated legislations after a blood analysis had indicated he is a Strox user.
“Drug users will be terminated. The House of Representatives will assume its role by articulating the necessary legislations. Some sympathize with those who must be fired and their children. Are not the 20 who died (in the blaze) human beings?,” the president asserted.
Addressing a Rumor
Since the former Minister of Transportation Hesham Arafat resigned, there has been rumors about potential figures who can be in charge of the ministry. One of those was incumbent Chairman of the Armed Forces Engineering Authority Kamel Al-Wazir.
The president commented about the rumor that the state was begging Wazir for five days to become the minister of transportation. “Do we ever beg anyone? Wazir said that ‘I am servant of Egypt,’” President Sisi stated.
“We are spending on the renovation and expansion of the transportation networks and facilities in Egypt LE4 trillion. You will witness a brand new railway facility on June 30, 2020,” the president stated.
President Sisi addressed Wazir saying that the entire state, including the Armed Forces, is supporting him to fulfill his duties in terms of revamping Egypt’s railways.
On his side, Wazir pledged to revamp all facilities affiliated with the Ministry of Transportation and not just the railways.
Heroism and Sacrifice
A documentary titled “Message from a Martyr” produced by the Armed Forces Department of Morale Affairs featuring actor Ashraf Abdel Baky as the narrator, and the mothers of security personnel who martyred during counterterrorism operations.
The mothers described their children’s love for their job and their faith in what they were doing having as an ultimate goal ending terrorism in North Sinai in order to ensure the country’s security.
The mothers and wives of martyrs were honored by the president. Also, a number of them delivered speeches to tell the stories of their children and husbands.
Moments of Appreciation
President Sisi saluted “the souls and families of martyrs” in his speech that also covered Egypt’s endeavors to build a better future for the new generations, and in parallel, combat terrorism.
“If we have been fighting them (terrorists in North Sinai) for six years, what were they preparing to do to the country,” the president said.
The president stated that the danger of negligence is no less significant than the danger of terrorism as he pointed out to the Cairo Railway Station blaze.
“We signed contracts to purchase 200 train tractors and six passenger trains,” President Sisi stated adding that, “We work to extend a railway line to Sudan and Africa.”
“Reform is difficult and requires a lot but it’s the only way to offer quality services to citizens,” President Sisi stressed.
“I am not worried about Egypt as long as Egyptians are one front internally,” President Sisi asserted.
“The economic reform program and the projects underway target improving the citizens’ quality of life,” President Sisi affirmed.
“Each Egyptian should know that the voice of their country has become heard,” President Sisi concluded referring to Egypt’s chairmanship of the Arab Union (AU) and hosting the Arab-European Summit in Sharm El Sheikh.
President Sisi promoted Wazir to Lieutenant General. Wazir addressed the public saying he will write about President Sisi in his diaries when his service is over.
Wazir thanked national firms and all Egyptians who have been involved in mega projects as partners to the Armed Forces Engineering Authority.
Finally, Wazir called upon the employees of the Railway Authority to improve themselves.