Cairo (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Ex-army chief Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, 59, has vowed to to tackle "terrorism", restore security and to promote a policy of "reconciliation, tolerance", after being sworn in as Egypt's new president. He said his election after a landslide win in May was "a historic moment", and pledged no reconciliation with those who had "committed violence". The retired field marshal overthrew President Mohammed Morsi last July. He has since been pursuing a crackdown on Mr Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, which urged a boycott of the elections.
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia urged Egyptians last week to back Sisi. Kuwait's emir, the king of Bahrain, and the crown princes of Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi attended the inauguration. Morsi's ousting was applauded by Egypt's Gulf Arab allies, who were alarmed by the rise of the Brotherhood, the international standard-bearer of mainstream Sunni political Islam. The movement, which won nearly every election in Egypt since Mubarak's fall, is seen as a threat to Gulf dynasties.
In contrast, the United States only sent a senior adviser to Secretary of State John Kerry and most European countries only planned to send ambassadors. Western countries were alarmed by the brutal crackdown on dissent following the overthrow of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi last year mostly and sent low level representatives.
Mr Sisi inherits a nation that is divided and weary and faces an array of challenges, including fixing the economy, preventing further political crises and easing poverty. More than a quarter of Egyptians live below the poverty line. Mr Sisi has pledged to build 26 new tourist resorts, eight new airports and 22 industrial estates.
Catholic Church and Christians in Egypt are confidently waiting for his first steps, focused on three major issues: Security, the economy and democracy. "People must see the beneficial effects of this change. Especially those who today are marginalized by society must understand that this is the real root of the recovery" fr. Rafiq Greiche - spokesman for the Egyptian Catholic Church - told AsiaNews days ago.