World / Middle East

'New Suez Canal' opened for ship traffic

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-08-06 23:51

'New Suez Canal' opened for ship traffic

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi stands on a boat on the Suez Canal as he attends the celebration of an extension of the Suez Canal in Ismailia, Egypt, in this Aug 6, 2015 handout photo supplied by the Egyptian Presidency.[Photo/Agencies]

ISMAILIA, Egypt -- Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi officially opened on Thursday afternoon the "New Suez Canal" for ship traffic amid high-profile international delegations, Xinhua correspondent reported from Ismailia, about 120 km northeast of the capital Cairo.

The Egyptian President signed the document presented by the Suez Canal Authority to allow the new waterway for ship navigation.

"With God's blessings, I, Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, President of Egypt, gives permission for the operation of the New Suez Canal," the Egyptian president said in his opening speech.

"Within one year, Egyptians exerted a great effort to offer the world and to Egypt a gift for humanity, for development, for building and for construction," Sisi added.

During Sisi's speech, the president paused while two giant ships were seen in the background crossing in different directions through two passages of the canal amid cheers of the attendees.

Sisi gave the go-ahead signal for the national "New Suez Canal" project on Aug 6 last year and ordered it to be completed in one year sharp.

The project included a newly-dug 35-km waterway alongside the original 190-km Suez Canal, plus a 37-km expansion and deepening of some parts of the existing one.

"The new canal is one of a thousand steps that we Egyptians are required to go through," the Egyptian president continued, adding that the establishment of the new waterway was done under unusual circumstances amid destructive terrorism.

"History will tell that Egypt faced over the past couple of years the most dangerous extremist terrorist thought that could have ruined the land," Sisi told the attendees.

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