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Egyptian President El-Sisi Opens New Suez Canal, ‘A Gift for Humanity, for Development, for Building...’

Aug. 6, 2015 (EIRNS)—Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi opened the ceremony opening the New Suez Canal by traveling, in a military uniform, on the 150-year-old Presidential yacht El-Mahroussa, the first ship to cross the original canal when it was first opened in 1869. By el-Sisi’s side onboard was nine-year-old cancer patient Omar Salah, who had expressed the one dream to meet President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, dressed in military gear, and to attend the opening of Egypt’s New Suez Canal.

Changing into civilian clothes, El-Sisi disembarked at Ismailia, on the Canal, where the ceremony was held and gave his address.

"With God’s blessings, I, Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, President of Egypt, give permission for the operation of the New Suez Canal," he said in his opening speech. "Within one year, Egyptians exerted a great effort to offer to the world and to Egypt a gift for humanity, for development, for building and for construction...

"Work did not take place in normal circumstances, and these circumstances still exist, and we are fighting them and we will defeat them. Evil was trying to harm Egypt and the Egyptians, and to halt its development.

"Egypt during this year stood against the most dangerous terrorist threat that would burn the world if it could."

During the President’s speech, he paused as two giant ships were seen in the background crossing in opposite directions through two passages of the canal, amid cheers of those attending.

The President said that the New Suez Canal project cannot be seen simply as an engineering achievement, and that "Egyptians needed to feel, in a year’s time, that they have gained more confidence and security. As shown by the people’s happiness today, they needed to show themselves and the world that they can [accomplish such a project]," he said.

"We have to be one bloc, to face the challenge" he said, gesturing to the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmed El-Tayyeb, and the Coptic Orthodox Pope, Tawadros II, who were sitting side-by-side in the audience. El-Sisi thanked "the martyrs who have sacrificed themselves for Egypt and for its stability ... army, police, and innocent civilians," and also thanked all those who participated in the New Suez Canal project, including the engineering division of the Armed Forces, the Armed Forces, and the Suez Canal Authority.

In addition to more than 70 foreign heads of state and government and other high-level dignitaries, Egyptian representatives from all sectors of society were there, including Bedouins and Nubians. It was a truly national ceremony.

Celebrations in Ismailia were complemented by others in Alexandria, Cairo, and other cities throughout Egypt. The Cairo Opera House musicians, accompanied by international soloists, staged the Triumphal March from Giuseppe Verdi’s opera Aïda, whose story is set in ancient Egypt, written as part of the celebrations for the opening of the Suez Canal, and first premiered in Cairo in 1871.