Egypt’s presidential office denied rumors on Monday that President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is not attending the Arab League summit in Mauritania this week due to a suspected assassination plot.
Anonymous sources told Al-Masry Al-Youm the Egyptian intelligence had gained information about a planned attack on the president during his visit to the Mauritanian capital of Nouakchott for the summit. But presidential spokesperson Alaa Youssef told Daily News Egypt that this was not the reason for the president’s cancellation.
Al-Masry Al-Youm’s unnamed sources claimed that behind the plot was an extremist group receiving funds from an unnamed country supporting terrorism, and with access to highly developed equipment and training. The group allegedly visited the place the president was due to stay in Mauritania a month ago.
According to Al-Masry Al-Youm, this was not the first plot against the Egyptian president whilst on foreign visits. During his presidential campaign of May 2014, Sisi claimed that two assassination attempts had already been made on him.
Al-Masry Al-Youm cited a moment during the president’s first television interview on CBC and OnTV channels when he said, “I believe in destiny. No one will take my life earlier than is destined. I fear nothing. I have already survived two assassination attempts.”
Youssef firmly denied the reports of a plot, and did not comment on the last minute change of Egyptian representative for the summit, said Daily News Egypt.
Sisi, meanwhile, instructed Prime Minister Sherif Ismail to take his place as leader of the Egyptian delegation at the summit, according to Al-Masry Al-Youm. The president sent a message with the delegation for his Mauritanian counterpart, Ould Abdel Aziz, giving his best wishes for the success of the summit and encouraging decisions to be made to boost proactive efforts and solidarity in facing current challenges in the Arab world.
On Sunday Sisi met with Ismail to discuss issues concerning Egypt and the wider region to put forward at the summit.