CAIRO – Addressing the newly empowered senate, Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi appealed to Egyptians on Saturday, December 29, to work together to rebuild the country, insisted that a new constitution that fueled protests guaranteed equality.
"I say to all, both at home and abroad, the state of financial institutions is not what some are trying to picture," Morsi said, adding that foreign reserves increased by $1.1 billion from July to $15.5 billion in November, Agence France Presse (AFP) reported.
"We cannot even consider this satisfactory. In June 2010 it was $35 billion. But in July 2012 it was $14.4 billion.
"But with Egypt now approaching stability, and with a sense of responsibility, we will do our utmost to double it (reserves) in future," he said.
In his address to the senate (shura council), which the constitution invests with legislative powers until a new parliament is elected in two months, Morsi insisted there had been gains as well as losses in the battered economy.
"Unfortunately, if it were not for events in which some people violated the peacefulness of politics, this noticeable rise (in tourism) would have continued," he said of protests over the past month.
Morsi said the country would not go bankrupt and said the economy had grown in the most recent quarter.
He added that the number of tourists over the past four months had doubled compared with a six-month period last year.
He also said the Suez Canal recorded two billion dollars in revenue between July and October 2012 -- "the largest percentage in a long time."
"By virtue of the constitution the transitional period has now ended," the Egyptian President added.
Two years of political turmoil has hammered Egypt’s economy.
Many creditors, investors and tourists have abandoned Egypt because of the volatility that has prevailed since Mubarak’s fall.
The International Monetary Fund this month put on hold a $4.8 billion loan Cairo needs to prevent a looming currency collapse.
The rating agency Standard and Poor's has downgraded Egypt's long-term credit rating one notch to 'B-' because the "elevated" political tensions show no sign of abating.
Yet, in the year to end-June, gross domestic product grew by 2.2 percent, up from 1.8 percent in the 2010/11 financial year, according to statistics published by the Finance Ministry.
The Egyptian President noted that his country supported the Syrian revolution and that President Bashar al-Asasd's administration had no place in Syria's future.
"All of that while preserving the unity of Syria," Morsi said, Reuters reported.
"There is no place for the current regime in the future of Syria."
Assad has been losing ground to rebels waging a 21-month-old uprising.
More than 38,000 people have been killed and many tens of thousands more displaced in a 19-month uprising against Assad’s regime.
The revolt against Assad began as peaceful protests calling for democracy and greater rights, but gradually turned to an armed struggle, pitting the Sunni majority against the president and his minority Alawite sect.
"The revolution of the Syrian people, which we support, will go forward, God willing, to realize its goals of freedom, dignity and social justice," Morsi added.
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