Egypt's presidential candidate and former army chief Abdul-Fattah Al-Sisi called on Egyptians to participate in the upcoming election. I hope that all Egyptians vote, this is an opportunity to express their will," he said on Thursday in an interview with Reuters.
In his first interview with an international news organisation before the presidential election, which is scheduled to take place on 26 – 27 May, Al-Sisi addressed the economic and security issues as well as the US military aid to Egypt, calling on the US to help Egypt fight terrorism so it avoids the creation of "another Afghanistan" in the region.
He called on the US administration to resume military aid to Egypt, worth $1.3 billion a year, which was partially frozen by Washington after the military ousted Mohamed Morsi from the presidency on July 3.
When Al- Sisi was asked what message he has for the US President Barack Obama, he said: "We are fighting a war against terrorism."
"The Egyptian army is undertaking major operations in the Sinai Peninsula to prevent it being transformed into a base for terrorism that will threaten its neighbours and destabilise Egypt. If Egypt is unstable then the entire region is unstable," Al-Sisi told Reuters.
"We need American support to fight terrorism, and we need American equipment to use to combat terrorism," he added.
He spoke about what he considered to be a threat that Libya presents to Egyptian security, criticising the West for not completing its mission in Libya. "There should have been a collection of weapons that are present everywhere until the country stabilises and has a government."
"The West has to pay attention to what's going on in the world – the map of extremism and its expansion. This map will reach you inevitably," he said.