May 15, 2014 - 15:02 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the general who ousted an elected Islamist president and is set to become Egypt's next head of state, called on the United States to help fight jihadi terrorism to avoid the creation of new Afghanistans in the Middle East.
In his interview with Reuters in the run-up to the May 26-27 vote, Sisi called for the resumption of U.S. military aid, worth $1.3 billion a year, which was partially frozen after a crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood.
Asked what message he has for U.S. President Barack Obama, Sisi said: "We are fighting a war against terrorism."
"The Egyptian army is undertaking major operations in the Sinai so it is not transformed into a base for terrorism that will threaten its neighbors and make Egypt unstable. If Egypt is unstable then the entire region is unstable," he told Reuters. "We need American support to fight terrorism, we need American equipment to use to combat terrorism."
He said neighboring Libya, which has descended into chaos following the Western-backed uprising that toppled Muammar Gaddafi, was becoming a major security threat to Egypt with jihadis infiltrating across the border to fight security forces.
Sisi said the West must understand that terrorism would reach its doorstep unless it helped eradicate it.
"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.
In a sideswipe at Western policy on Syria, where U.S. and European support for rebels fighting for three years to bring down President Bashar al-Assad has seen a proliferation of jihadism and the fragmentation of the country, Sisi stressed the need to maintain the unity of Syria.
"Otherwise we will see another Afghanistan", he said. "I don't think you want to create another Afghanistan in the region."
Sisi, treated as a savior in a personality cult that grew after his overthrow of Mursi last July, says he is conscious of the challenges facing Egypt after more than three years of turmoil since the overthrow of Mubarak.
But he dismisses the idea of a U.S.-style 100 days policy blitz to give Egyptians the bread, freedom, security and social justice they yearn for.
"The truth is one hundred days is not enough. The challenges present in Egypt are so many," Sisi told Reuters. "I believe that within two years of serious, continuous work we can achieve the type of improvement Egyptians are looking for."