Egypt’s El Sisi on social media: ‘If we have nothing good to say, we remain quiet’

Egypt’s El Sisi on social media: ‘If we have nothing good to say, we remain quiet’

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi rebuked Egyptian social media users and local media for an argument with citizens and journalists from the country’s Gulf allies on Thursday, accusing online sites he did not identify of trying to drive a wedge between Cairo and its Arab allies and backers.

Mr El Sisi’s comments were his first since a row erupted between Egyptian and Saudi social media users this month, after an article by the editor of a state-owned Cairo daily newspaper.

The piece in Al Gomhorya by Abdel Raziq Tawfeeq suggested Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab states had not done enough to help Egypt overcome its economic crisis and was shared by people on social media claiming the same.

It was later withdrawn but sparked an angry reaction from Saudi social media users and commentators.

Mr El Sisi said the criticism was baseless and accused sites of creating division between Egypt and its Gulf Arab allies.

“Egypt’s policy is always defined by moderation and strict discipline towards everyone, both at home and abroad,” he said. “Even at times of crisis or differences, we never make negative comments.

“If we have nothing good to say, the least we can do is to remain quiet,” said the Egyptian leader.

”What is being said on (Egyptian) social media sites and even in some newspaper articles about relations with our brothers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia or any other country is inappropriate,” he said.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait and Qatar have together given Egypt billions of dollars over the past decade to help the most populous Arab nation cope with a series of economic crises dating back to 2013.

Their latest round of assistance followed the outbreak a year ago of the Russia-Ukraine war, which has had a devastating impact on Egypt’s economy. They gave Egypt about $20 billion worth of central bank deposits and investments.

“If there is a crisis, and there is no crisis, do I become abusive and make undisciplined talk?” said Mr El Sisi.

Egypt and Saudi Arabia are bound by historical ties dating back centuries. The two regional powerhouses are close trading partners and their armed forces routinely conduct joint war games.

At least three million Egyptians are employed in Saudi Arabia.

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