Defense minister praises former military leaders

Defense Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Tuesday praised the previous leaders of the Armed Forces for honorably and faithfully leading the transitional phase after the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak.

Sisi made his comments during a visit to the Military Academy to assess the levels of education and training.

“Armed Forces leaders are chosen carefully so that they can fulfill their sacred responsibility,” he told the academy teachers. “Our goal now is to develop the Armed Forces at all levels in order to be able to protect our national security.”

A number of politicians and human rights groups had criticized the way the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces managed the transitional period, considering it a continuation of the Mubarak regime.

As presidential polls came to a close in June, the military council chaired by Mubarak’s Defense Minister Hussein Tantawi, issued a supplement to the Constitutional Declaration, granting itself executive and legislative powers.

Following an attack in Sinai, which left 16 soldiers dead, in a surprise move President Mohamed Morsy abolished the declaration, and retired Tantawi, Chief of Staff Sami Anan and other military leaders. These were replaced with younger figures. Sisi, who replaced Tantawi, had previously been the head of military intelligence.

On the situation in Sinai, Sisi said the Armed Forces and the police are eliminating militancy in the region, but with respect for human rights and regard for innocent people. “Restoring security in Sinai also requires political and economic development,” he said.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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