Sissi Won't Allow Sinai to Be Used as Base for Attacks on Israel

Egyptian president also says that Israel must give Palestinians hope for statehood.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi being interviewed by France 24.Credit: Screenshot

Egypt will not permit the Sinai Peninsula to “become a base for attacks against Israel,” Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi said on Thursday in an interview with France 24 TV channel.

However, Sissi also said that Israel must also give hope to the Palestinians that they will reach statehood. "You cannot neutralize the current tensions without a large positive move," he said. "I believe that this will solve many problems."

Asked what he thought about the chances for finding a lasting peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, Sissi said he believed that peace would one day be possible.

"I have spoken to [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu, and peace is foreseeable," he said.

In his first-ever interview with a European media outlet, Sissi also said that issuing a presidential pardon for three Al Jazeera journalists currently imprisoned in Egypt "is currently under discussion."

Mohamed Fahmy, Baher Mohamed and Peter Greste were sentenced to lengthy prison sentences in June for aiding a "terrorist organization" and undermining the national interest by working with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Al Jazeera has dismissed the allegations and has repeatedly called for the release of its staff.

Sissi issued a decree last week allowing him to repatriate foreign prisoners. That raised the prospect that Fahmy, a Canadian-Egyptian, and Greste, an Australian national, could be released by presidential decree.