Egypt inaugurates a major extension of the Suez Canal which President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi hopes will power an economic turnaround in the Arab world's most populous country. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Egypt staged a show of international support on Thursday as it inaugurated a major extension of the Suez Canal which President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi hopes will power an economic turnaround in the Arab world's most populous country. The former armed forces chief, who led a military takeover two years ago but ran for president as a civilian last year, told a ceremony attended by leaders of France, Russia, Arab and African states that Egypt would defeat terrorism. The $8 billion New Suez Canal project was completed in just one year instead of three on Sisi's orders, but economists and shipping analysts question whether there is sufficient traffic and east-west trade to meet its ambitious revenue targets. "(I) Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, inaugurate the new Suez Canal. Long live Egypt, long live the peace-loving people of the world," Sisi said after signing an order allowing ships to cross the new stretch of waterway. The canal expansion is the centrepiece of a grand agenda by Sisi to cement his tenure as the man who brought stability and prosperity to Egypt after he ousted elected Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Mursi in 2013 following mass protests. The spectacular inauguration was also intended to bolster his international standing in the presence of French President Francois Hollande, Russian Prime Minister Dimitry Medvedev, King Abdullah of Jordan, the emir of Kuwait and the king of Bahrain. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was in Cairo on Aug. 2 for a strategic dialogue with Egypt, but no top-level representative of the Obama administration attended the ceremony.