President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi addressed the nation Tuesday in a speech at the Egyptian Family Iftar, before over 700 attendees.
The Iftar was attended by several families of deceased police and military officials. Also in attendance were youth, media personalities and representatives of different social factions, according to a presidency statement.
Al-Sisi defended laws he recently passed, saying that they aim to achieve the will of the Egyptians, granting immunity to the state, and preserving its position and its institutions. He also said they aim to prevent schemes aimed at discouraging citizens and shaking the stability of the country.
A controversial draft anti-terror law is currently awaiting his approval, following the approval given by all necessary state institutions to make its way to the presidency.
Article 33 of the law, in particular, has raised concerns amongst journalists and NGOs regarding press freedom. The article requires that the media only report figures announced through the state in matters regarding terrorism, with any violators potentially facing jail sentences.
The president also recently passed a law giving him the right to dismiss heads and members of independent bodies and regulatory agencies, seen by many as a breach of the constitution. The law has raised questions over independence and objectivity in state monitoring.
Al-Sisi condemned some saying that the New Suez Canal was built as “a show” for him. He said that these words are painful, and that there is no way the state could play with the name of the people, their money, and their ambitions in this fashion.
He said that the opening of the new waterway on 8 August will be a happy occasion for all Egyptians, and that he wished all Egyptians could attend it. He assured that all efforts are being exerted to launch the opening in a respectable manner.
The president renewed a pledge to hold parliamentary elections before the end of this year. He pointed to the recent passing of an electoral law dividing voting constituencies as a commitment from his administration to fulfil this promise.
Al-Sisi took the opportunity to congratulate the Egyptian people and the people of Arab and Muslim countries on the upcoming Eid Al-Fitr holiday, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
The president also took the opportunity to pay homage to the fallen officers and conscripts of the security and armed forces. He said that their sacrifice came to ensure the lives of millions of Egyptians.
Al-Sisi then called attention to what he said were the serious dangers facing the nation, and the need for unity to face them. He said that the Egyptian people need to be wary of dangers around them until Egypt reaches safety, security, and prosperity.
He also called for caution when transmitting news and information, saying that accuracy must be ensured to preserve the high spirits of citizens, as well as security and military personnel. He said that Egypt was facing a “fourth generation” war, which utilises communication mediums and modern technology to invoke psychological harm in the Egyptian people.
Earlier on Tuesday, Al-Sisi gave another speech at an event held at the Ministry of Endowments, in celebration of a religious night in the holy month of Ramadan. The president took the occasion to call on preachers to correct what he said is a “flawed image” of Islam.