In the wake of the liberation of the seven Egyptian soldiers kidnapped by armed groups in the Sinai Peninsula, Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi on Wednesday called for the kidnappers to give up their arms saying: "Weapons must only be carried by the army and the police."
In his first speech after receiving the soldiers and their families in Almaza military airbase in Cairo, Morsi said: "Those who possess arms must submit them to the government and those who are oppressed must raise a complaint. Then, over all law enforcement will be achieved."
In an effort to send a strong message to armed groups in Sinai and to the opposition which criticised him for not carrying out a military operation immediately after the abduction of the soldiers, Morsi said: "We are not the party to be blackmailed nor are we the party that take exceptional rash decisions."
Morsi said that Sinai is "secure and safe." He said that complete sovereignty over Sinai must be imposed over all Sinai and pledged to bring lawbreakers to justice.
The president spoke about the progress of the development projects in Egypt. "We are going ahead in our distinctive performance, our opposition is in our eyes… we follow up ministers day by day, we are not warmongers, we are able to achieve security inside and outside our borders and we can protect development, stability and peace."
He then called on Egyptian political forces for dialogue based on efforts aimed at achieving a united goal, noting that Egypt is going through a transitional period and "must keep going under a united leadership with united goals."
He also said: "We [ruling party and opposition] have to share each other's opinions because Egypt is bigger than us and Egypt and Egyptians' interest is the main load we bear.
"In order to be really the sons of the February 25 Revolution, our arms are opened to anyone who loves Egypt and all of us are parts of the same body."