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Friday, August 7, 2015

Egypt officially opens the New Suez Canal

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi with the child during the
(Image: Voice of America)
Egypt officially opened a major extension of the Suez Canal on Thursday, 6 August. The Canal’s extension deepens the main waterway providing ships with a 35 km channel, parallel to Suez Canal.

Official ceremony of inauguration of the New Suez Canal was planned in advance and was held on Thursday with the unprecedented security measures due to the situation in the country.

At the inauguration ceremony, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi appeared first in his military uniform, welcoming the guests and high officials and delegates from the foreign countries. He arrived in the helicopter and then welcomed the guests aboard a historic royal yacht.

High officials from many countries including Jordan, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, France, Russia, Germany and many others attended the ceremony.

Military jets and helicopters flew above the Canal during the ceremony. The streets of Cairo and other Egyptian cities were decorated with the huge banners and Egyptian flags praising the New Suez Canal as one of the biggest and most significant projects of the current Egyptian government.

The inauguration ceremony was held with the huge performance including performing parts of the legendary Aida Opera.

Thousands of people have gathered in Cairo’s iconic Tahrir Square and on other main squares of Egyptian cities in order to celebrate opening of the new Suez Canal. The moods were celebratory despite some criticism the project received in the country.

New extension of the Suez Canal
(Image: BBC)
Egypt’s government hopes that the revenues will revive Egyptian struggling economy, while many analysts criticized the Canal’s project, stressing that the volume of the world’s trade has not been growing at the pace needed to deliver the sums Egyptian government hopes to collect with the help of the Suez Canal extension.

The Suez Canal extension will allow two-way traffic for the ships along part of the route. In addition to that the new Canal allows the larger vessels to safely pass the Canal. Construction of the New Suez Canal began about one year ago on the order of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.

Security measures were tightened during the inauguration ceremony, as the situation remains tense and extremely dangerous in Egypt, especially in the restive Sinai Peninsula, where jihadists’ groups continue attacking Egyptian Armed and security forces and civilians as well. One of the main local terrorist group, Ansar Beyt Al-Maqdis, has recently pledged allegiance to Islamic State and changed its name into Vilayat Sinai (Sinai Province) of ISIS. This group claimed responsibility for numerous terrorist attacks and bombings in the country, including assassination of Egyptian Prosecutor General in Cairo, bombing of Italian Consulate in Cairo Downtown, fierce attacks on Egyptian soldiers in Sinai and the recent abduction of Croatian citizen, whom the group threatens to kill in case if the government will not meet the group’s demands.

Egyptian Armed Forces and police have intensified their fight against the terrorist elements in Northern Sinai and nationwide, launching several massive anti-terrorist operations in the region and arresting hundreds of people involved in the terrorists’ or extremists’ activities.