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Sisi highlights Suez Canal's significance for world trade

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi speaks during a joint news conference with Greek Prime Minister at Maximos Mansion in Athens on November 11, 2020. (Photo by Costas BALTAS / various sources / AFP) (Photo by COSTAS BALTAS/AFP via Getty Images)
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in Athens on 11 November 2020 [COSTAS BALTAS/AFP/Getty Images]

Egypt's Suez Canal has become an entrenched part of the global trade networks, despite the existence of alternative routes, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi said yesterday.

"The canal crisis was something that we didn't want, but this was fate," Sisi told journalists during his visit to the canal a day after the stranded MV Ever Given was refloated on Monday. "It affirmed the major role and significance of the canal over the past 150 years."

The Egyptian leader stressed that the recent crisis had shown the canal's "strong impact on global trade." He noted that 13 per cent of the total global trade passed through Suez.

"This was a blessing in disguise, and this incident showed that the canal is enduring and competing," he claimed. He also pointed out that the crisis was resolved without any "human or material damage."

OPINION: Blame the dictatorship in Egypt for the Suez Canal fiasco

On preventing similar situations with other ships, Sisi said that his government would "immediately purchase the necessary equipment regardless of the cost and circumstances."

Critics have blamed the incident entirely on the corruption and inefficiency of the Sisi regime, rather than "fate". The grounding of the Ever Given was, said one, an "accident waiting to happen".

The Suez Canal Authority announced the success of efforts to refloat the stranded massive container ship and reopen the canal to maritime traffic [Zeynep Öztürk/Anadolu Agency]

The Suez Canal Authority announced the success of efforts to re-float the stranded massive container ship and reopen the canal to maritime traffic [Zeynep Öztürk/Anadolu Agency]

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