NEW YORK: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi used his speech at the UN General Assembly to amplify a call to get neighboring Sudan off the US’ list of countries deemed sponsors of terrorism.
El-Sisi told world leaders Tuesday that taking Sudan off the list would help the country tackle economic problems and reclaim what he called “the place it deserves among the international family.”
Sudan has been on the US list since 1993. Khartoum says getting off it is crucial to rebuilding the country after years of sanctions.
The US administration began a process to take Sudan off the list. The procedure was put on hold when mass protests erupted in December against former ruler Omar Al-Bashir. The military ousted him in April. Sudan’s new Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok recently said he’d discussed the issue with the Trump administration.
El-Sisi also said that a concerted effort was needed to stop militias taking control of Libya.
On Monday, US President Donald Trump voiced support to the Egyptian president, saying that El-Sisi “has done (in Egypt) some things that are absolutely amazing in a short period of time.”
“When he took over not so long ago, it was in turmoil. And it’s not in turmoil now,” Trump said in a press conference along with El-Sisi after their meeting. “Egypt has a great leader. He’s highly respected. He’s brought order. Before he was here, there was very little order. There was chaos. And so I’m not worried about that at all.”
El-Sisi, who has been waging a harsh crackdown on militants, blamed “political Islam” for the protests and the turmoil in the Mideast. He stopped short of naming the Muslim Brotherhood directly.
“I want you to rest assured that, especially in Egypt, the public opinion and the people themselves are rejecting this kind of political Islam in Egypt,” he said.
“They have demonstrated their rejection before, and they reject those to have control on the country for only one year.” Egypt is fighting an insurgency led by a local affiliate of Daesh in the Sinai Peninsula as well as smaller militant groups allegedly belonging to the Brotherhood.
Meanwhile, Egyptian security forces killed six suspected members of the Muslim Brotherhood in a shootout in Cairo, the Interior Ministry said Tuesday.
The six were killed in a firefight when police raided their hideout in the Cairo suburb of Sixth of October, the ministry said in a brief statement.
The ministry oversees police forces. The statement said the suspects were planning militant attacks. It did not say when the raids took place. Egypt branded the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization in 2013 and arrested thousands of its members after the military’s ouster of President Mohammed Mursi, who hailed from the group, amid mass protests against his brief rule.