The New Suez Canal is only the starting point for several new development projects that will help to build a new Egypt, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi declared at the waterway’s inauguration ceremony on Thursday afternoon.
The ceremony was attended by French President Francois Hollande as a guest of honor, along with an array of heads of state representing Arab and African countries. During the inauguration, two ships then passed through the canal and tooted their horns, interrupting Sisi’s speech and inciting applause from the president and the crowd.
In his address, Sisi extolled the Egyptians and non-Egyptians alike who worked relentlessly throughout the last year to accomplish the project in time, despite difficult economic and political conditions.
History will credit Egypt for fighting against the most dangerous, extreme terrorist ideology that is threatening the world, the president went on to assert.
“The great Egyptian people announce to the world that we triumph over terrorism with life, and over hatred with love,” he proclaimed.
Finishing the canal is an achievement that will boost the confidence of the Egyptians and fend off hopelessness, Sisi continued. He dedicated the project to the police, military and civilian victims of terrorism, saying that the project’s success proves that their sacrifices were not in vain.
Egypt is not a one-project nation — the canal is just one of a thousand steps that Egypt is planning to take, the president declared.
He explained that the government would start another project to develop the area surrounding the new canal. This would entail expanding the East Port Said port, developing industrial activity in the area and creating an international trade zone.
“Nations are capable of dreaming, and only free nations are capable of accomplishment,” Sisi said.
He then expressed his hope that Egypt’s “friends” across the world would collaborate in the coming phase.