On 6 August, 2015, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi presided over inaugural ceremonies for the expanded Suez Canal, an $8.6 billion project financed entirely by the Egyptian people and completed two years ahead of schedule. Heads of state and foreign dignitaries from around the world, including French President Francois Hollande, King Abdullah of Jordan, Swiss Vice President Johann Schneider-Ammann and UK Defense Secretary Michael Fallon, were on hand to celebrate the grand opening of the new 45-mile channel and deepening of the old waterway.
During his remarks, President El Sisi underscored the importance of this landmark project, saying “The splendor of this new canal not only represents a formidable feat of engineering, but has also given the Egyptian people confidence and demonstrated to the entire world what they are capable of accomplishing. The new canal is one step on a long road the Egyptian people have embarked on to realize their aspirations and ambitions.”
The new Suez Canal will expand our domestic economy and bolster Egypt’s role as a major global commerce hub. The modernization of this strategically important waterway will increase shipping capacity, allow two-way maritime traffic for the first time and reduce waiting ship times from 11 to three hours. The dramatic increase in volume will make the Suez Canal an even more attractive route for global shipping.
Alongside the new waterway, a new 76,000 square kilometer industrial development corridor is being established. The Suez Canal Area Development Project (SCZone) is poised to support nearly one million new jobs and two million new residents, creating an integrated commercial center with international reach. The SCZone includes the building or redevelopment of four major ports – East Port Said, Ain Sokhna Port, 10th Ramadan Dry Port and Ismailia Dry Port – all powered through new wind farms, gas turbines and waste-to-energy incineration plants. The result will be a new international logistics and manufacturing powerhouse.
President El Sisi highlighted the important role of this new economic zone in his address, declaring “The development of the canal area entails the establishment of an international economic zone encompassing a number of ports, new cities and logistical and trading hubs that will increase commerce between Egypt and the world.” President El Sisi remarked that work on the SCZone will soon be underway. “The government will immediately start its implementation by developing the East Port Said area, including the expansion and development of East Port Said harbor and the industrial area around it. In addition, we will upgrade the area’s infrastructure and link it to other projects underway. Immediately following this, we will develop Ismailia, Al-Qantarah and Ain Sokhna.”
Below are President El Sisi’s full remarks from the inauguration ceremony. Video of the Suez inauguration ceremony is available here. For more information on the canal expansion and see our factsheet titled, “The Suez Canal: A Growing Center for Global Commerce.”
Speech by the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Abdel Fattah El Sisi at the Inauguration Ceremony of the New Suez Canal
Thursday, August 6, 2015
Your Majesties, Excellencies and Highnesses..
Ladies and Gentlemen..
Dear Guests of Egypt..
It is my pleasure to welcome you today in the name of the people and government of the Arab Republic of Egypt. I welcome Egypt’s loyal friends, who want to join its great people in their joy at this momentous accomplishment, through which they proved their ability to make history and forge a prosperous future for humanity as a whole.
Allow me to talk to you as an Egyptian citizen who takes pride in the magnificence of his country and ancient civilization, which is taught around the world so that the peoples of the world take inspiration from the values it espoused. And today Egypt presents its gift to the world for the sake of humanity, reconstruction and development. Over the last two years, Egypt’s contributions to the world have extended beyond this new canal, to encompass other vital areas. History will judge that Egypt and its people confronted the most dangerous, extremist, terrorist thinking, which, had it prevailed, would have set the world ablaze. Egypt and its people also contributed by promoting the tolerant values of Islam through Al Azhar and its honorable scholars, who actively contributed in renewing the religious discourse and rectifying it.
The Egyptian people completed the New Suez Canal under the most difficult circumstances economically and in terms of security. The powers of terrorism and extremism were at war with Egypt and the Egyptians. Yet we were able with God’s blessing and with the efforts of the Egyptian people to triumph and realize our dream.
The splendor of this new canal not only represents a formidable feat of engineering, but has also given the Egyptian people confidence and demonstrated to the entire world what they are capable of accomplishing. The new canal is one step on a long road the Egyptian people have embarked on to realize their aspirations and ambitions.
The secret to the greatness of the Egyptian people and to their strength lies in the fact that they are united as one entity, standing together hand in hand. And so we see the Grand Imam and the Pope standing together to express the everlasting unity of the Egyptian people.
I owe a debt of gratitude to Egypt’s fallen heroes who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their homeland in order to establish stability. Their sacrifice is not only for Egypt, but for all humanity. I would also like to offer my gratitude and appreciation to the Engineering Authority of the armed forces, the Suez Canal Authority and the consortium of dredging and construction companies, which all contributed to the completion of this project by the deadline that was set.
We, Egyptians, promised this new canal as a gift to the world; and today we are fulfilling this promise in record time. We are providing the world an additional artery for prosperity and a channel for connecting civilizations. It will facilitate and enhance the movement of international maritime traffic, broaden the horizons of growth and enable the realization of the hopes and aspirations of the great people of Egypt, who prevailed in this endeavor with their mental strength, physical effort and personal savings.
From the precious land of Sinai, the meeting point of East and West, from the land of Egypt which is as generous as its people, as glorious as the great pyramids, as everlasting as the eternal River Nile, and as incomparable as it is timeless, we are inspired by the pages of history inscribed with pride and glory by our forefathers to write the future chapter of a new Egypt, characterized by a unique approach that will fulfil the aspirations of its people in keeping with their struggle and strife, which is as old as humanity itself.
The Suez Canal has always been at the very heart of Egypt. As such it exercised the minds of its thinkers and writers. Egypt’s great thinker Gamal Hemdan once said of it: “We can rest assured that, despite all challenges and impediments, the future of the Suez Canal will be secure and guaranteed. Its future is even brighter than before, provided we accept any challenge and address any danger with vigilance, determination, diligent planning and hard, persistent work”. And now we see Gamal Hemdan’s prophecy coming true, ten years after he made it, as a new reality is now flowing through the water of this canal
Allow me to send a message of appreciation to the people of my country, who proved day after day that Egypt will never cease to raise new generations of loyal citizens. People of Egypt, I salute your patriotism; you heeded the call of the homeland and were able to finance this formidable accomplishment within a few days. Let us dedicate this wonderful achievement to the souls of Egypt’s fallen heroes. We tell them now: you did not make your sacrifice in vain and your defense of your country and people not only protected the homeland, but will also inspire future generations, who will learn from your experience the meaning of redemption, sacrifice and altruism. May you all rest in the peace of heaven.
I owe my gratitude and appreciation to all those who contributed with their creative ideas and hard work to this amazing achievement.
Your Majesties, Excellencies and Highnesses
Ladies and Gentlemen
Dear Guests of Egypt
The opening of the New Suez Canal to maritime traffic on such an unprecedented accelerated timetable has an impact that goes beyond political and economic goals. It underscores the humanitarian dimension to which the Egypt of the future aspires; one where dignity, justice and stability are realized in a modern, democratic, civil state by mobilizing the ability of the Egyptian people to build at a fast pace in a number of areas.
The current phase of development requires creating an atmosphere conducive to work and investment. The men of the armed forces and police have been serving faithfully and diligently on Egypt’s front line in a confrontation with blind, mindless terrorism, which harbors evil, means the people of Egypt harm and wants to impose regressive ideas on them. However, the will and determination of the Egyptian people to defeat and eradicate the terrorists has proved stronger than their violence and malice.
History will judge that the Suez Canal was the springboard from which Egypt’s cultural and civilizational influence radiated throughout the region and the world beyond, acting as a link to its disparate corners, dating back to the pharaonic era through the Greek rule and Islamic period and into modern history up until the inauguration of our new canal. Egypt will always remain the meeting point that brings East and West together, a role it has always served throughout its history.
Your Majesties, Excellencies and Highnesses
Ladies and Gentlemen..
The great people of Egypt announce to the world today the message of the New Suez Canal: that we triumph over terrorism with life and over hatred with love. Let the canal be a source of prosperity for humanity, not only through its waters but along its banks in keeping with the history of the canal which has left its mark on the map of humanity. Let me make clear that Egypt is not and will never be a one-project nation. As our young population seeks work, it is also capable of creativity and accomplishment. The inauguration of the new canal today is just the first in a number of national projects. Most closely associated with today’s achievement is the Suez Canal Area Development Project, of which the general outline has now been approved. The government will immediately start its implementation by developing the East Port Said area, including the expansion and development of East Port Said harbor and the industrial area around it. In addition, we will upgrade the area’s infrastructure and link it to other projects underway. Immediately following this, we will develop Ismailia, Al-Qantarah and Ain Sokhna. The development of the canal area entails the establishment of an international economic zone encompassing a number of ports, new cities and logistical and trading hubs that will increase commerce between Egypt and the world. As we continue to realize this goal, we hope our friends from all over the world will join us in our ambitious dream to build the future of Egypt. A number of projects will be launched that focus on constructing a massive national road network, developing the agricultural sector with the reclamation of one million feddans and building a number of new cities to accommodate population growth. In addition, work will begin on a number of new ports and industrial development expanded by promoting small and medium-sized enterprises. I assure you all that the Egyptian State renews its determination to pursue the path of political and social reform so as to realize the aspirations of its people for social justice and dignity.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I salute you and offer my appreciation, thanking God Almighty for helping us realize this ambitious dream that spurred us to strive for more achievements for our dear beloved Egypt. This great homeland, which entrusted me with the responsibility of leading it, deserves that we do more for it and make sacrifices in order for it to reach its potential. This homeland demands from us pure intentions, diligence at work and adherence to principles and values…all of us, young and old, men and women, Muslims and Christians.
Egypt, which has restored its will with the January 25 and June 30 revolutions, has chosen its path and illuminated its way forward. Although it has not yet accomplished all it has set out to do, it knows what it wants and is moving forward to realize it. If peoples have the ability to dream, then only free people have the ability to achieve.
” In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful”. By the blessings of God, I, Abdel Fattah El Sisi, the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, officially open the New Suez Canal”
Long Live Egypt … Long Live Egypt … Long Live Egypt
Long Live the peace-loving nations around the globe
Long Live the principles of humanity and the values of tolerance and co-existence