Sisi reveals close ties with Israel's Netanyahu
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has revealed that he talks with Israeli prime minister Benyamin Netanyahu "a lot".
"I just want to reassure him that achieving peace [with the Palestinians] will be a historic deal for him and for Israel, and that we are ready to help reach this peace," Sisi said.
The Egyptian president revealed his close relations with the Israeli leader in an interview with The Washington Post.
Sisi said that Egypt had been "honouring" its peace treaty with Israel since it was signed in 1979.
A sign of Tel Aviv's trust in Sisi, he said, can be shown in Israel allowing Egyptian troops to enter central and eastern districts of the Sinai, despite this being against the peace accord.
"The hostile mood and scepticism have diminished with peace with Israel. This can happen with the other Arab countries and Israel if a two-state solution is reached," he said.
In the interview, Sisi claimed that, despite being the target of human rights groups, his government upholds the right to free speech and assembly, and insisted that there must be a "balance" between security and freedom of expression.
Despite Sisi claiming that Cairo had never turned down an application for a demonstration, hundreds of secular activists and Islamists have been jailed, including Ahmed Maher, founder of the April 6 youth movement.
"We are not against the secular activists or against protesting or against young people speaking out loud. But it is very important for the people not to violate this rule of law," Sisi responded.
|Sisi reflects the popular will of Egyptians.
- Abdel Fattah al-Sisi
Highlighting the threat posed by "terrorism" to Egypt, Sisi made a plea to Washington to support his country.
Referring to himself in the third person, Sisi said the US could support Egypt by supporting him.
"Sisi reflects the popular will of the Egyptians," Sisi said.
One bizarre claim by Sisi in the interview was that the Muslim Brotherhood would have attempted to destroy the "pharaonic" temples of ancient Egypt, if Sisi and the army had not overthrown the government in 2013.
He described the Muslim Brotherhood as being "the godfather of terrorism" and linked the group's ideology to the actions of the Islamic State group today.
This article is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.