Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi urged that countries embracing or offering sanctuary to terrorists be held accountable, in a video speech shown at the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Wednesday.
Watch el-Sissi’s remarks in the player above.
In a pre-recorded address, el-Sissi also reiterated that his country remained committed to human rights, stipulating that they must be in the “framework of respect for the principles of the homeland”.
Under el-Sissi, Egypt has seen the heaviest crackdown on dissent in its modern history. Officials have targeted not only Islamist political opponents but also pro-democracy activists, journalists and online critics. Lengthy pre-trial detentions have become common practice to keep the government’s critics behind bars for as long as possible.
His government has justified many of their tactics on fighting terrorists. Egypt has for years battled an Islamist insurgency in the Sinai peninsula.
El-Sissi also spoke on an issue that has dominated much of the country’s domestic discourse over the past year – that of Ethiopia’s massive dam built on one of the main tributaries of the Nile river. Talks on how the dam will function, particularly in times of drought, have repeatedly stalled. Most recently, the UN Security Council urged Ethiopia, and downstream countries Sudan and Egypt, to return to negotiations as soon as possible.
He said that any agreement should protect “the existence of 150 million Egyptian and Sudanese citizens”.