January 22, 2015 / 12:31 PM / 3 years ago

Egypt's Sisi calls for global effort to counter militancy

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi makes a speech during the Egypt in the World event in the Swiss mountain resort of Davos January 22, 2015. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich

DAVOS (Reuters) - Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi called on world leaders gathered at the World Economic Forum on Thursday to unite against the global threat of terrorism.

“It is one battle (against terrorism) that attacks us to impose its view,” he said.

Sisi, leader of the most populous Arab country, has repeatedly called for concerted efforts to counter militancy in the Middle East and the West.

The threat of Islamist militancy came into sharp focus when gunmen killed 17 people in three days of violence in Paris this month that began with an attack on the offices of a newspaper that had published satirical images of the Prophet Mohammad.

Egypt, which has wide influence in the Arab world, has fought Islamist militancy for decades, mostly through security crackdowns, which have weakened radical groups but not eliminated them.

“The whole world, not just Muslims, needs to stand and review many points that provoke the feelings of others,” said Sisi. “We should provide a proper environment for respecting religion.”

As army chief, Sisi overthrew elected Islamist president Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013.

Security forces then killed hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood supporters in the streets and arrested thousands of others in a campaign that drew fire from human rights groups.

Egypt, a strategic ally of the United States, is also confronting Islamist insurgents based in the Sinai Peninsula who support Islamic State, the group that seized large parts of Iraq and Syria.

In Davos, Sisi reiterated that Egypt was serious about making life easier for foreign investors, who are vital for strengthening an economy battered by turmoil since a popular uprising toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

Experts and diplomats say Egypt and other countries in the region need to create jobs and boost economies in order to remove the conditions that help militants gain recruits.

Reporting by Ali Abdelatty; Writing by Michael Georgy; Editing by Kevin Liffey

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