06/05/2014, 00.00
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Catholic Church spokesman calls on Sisi to ensure safety, economy and democracy

According to Fr Rafiq Greiche, the day after the inauguration, the new Egyptian president has to address three key challenges if he wants to put Egypt back on its feet. "He must show people that he wants to walk the walk of democracy. This way he will give confidence to the country and ensure that it gets back to work." Christian leaders send their greetings to the former general.

Cairo (AsiaNews) - Security, the economy and democracy are the three main challenges facing the new president of Egypt, Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, "from the first day on his new job," said Fr Rafiq Greiche.

"The Catholic Church and Christians all over Egypt are confidently waiting for his first steps," said the spokesman for the Egyptian Catholic Church who spoke to AsiaNews three days before the former general's swearing-in ceremony.

Sisi's official inauguration of Al Sisi is set for Sunday morning, at the Constitutional Court in Cairo. The outgoing caretaker government that has ruled Egypt since the ouster of former President Morsi will resign right after the ceremony.

In his farewell speech, Acting President Adly Mansour said that "the country is facing challenges that threaten not only its identity but also the unity of its people and territory."

For Fr Greiche, there are "three main issues that must be dealt with after the inauguration."

"The first one is undoubtedly to restore security for all Egyptians. For the past six months, the situation has improved substantially, but that is not enough. We need a new confidence and a new attitude in order to return to an acceptable situation."

Secondly, "there is the economy. We have to go back to work. Now the situation is very bad. We need a plan to improve things, beat unemployment and stop the collapse of the tourist sector, which has been hit hard by the events of the last two years".

A third issue must be addressed to achieve these goals. "We must continue to walk the walk on the road of democracy. The new president has to go to Parliament and show us and the world that he is a democrat who wants to promote democracy in Egypt. People must see the beneficial effects of this change. Especially those who today are marginalised by society must understand that this is the real root of the recovery."

The country's Christian community has come out in favour of the new national leader.

Mgr Isaac Ibrahim Al Sisi Sidrak, the Catholic Coptic Patriarch, sent a message on behalf of all Catholic bishops.

In it, he called on God to help the president "after his countrymen gave him the mission to lead the nation towards global renaissance."

For his part, Coptic Orthodox Patriarch Tawadros II sent three telegrams, one to the winner, one to his challenger Hamdin Sabahi and one to Adly Mansour.

Speaking about the former general, Patriarch Tawadros called on God "to bless him at a time when the nation is facing emergencies".

He also praised Sabahi for his "crucial role in ensuring Egyptians had a chance to choose in the election".

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