Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has strongly defended his decision to construct an underground "Iron Wall" on the border with the Gaza Strip.
Mubarak, who has come under international fire for aiding Israel in imposing a blockade on Gaza, said the new barrier would help Egypt protect its national security and sovereignty.
"The works and reinforcements on our eastern border are a matter of Egyptian sovereignty. We do not accept a debate on the issue with anyone," the president said in a speech to mark Police Day.
He also added that the "Iron Wall" construction would continue with force, stressing that his government would not allow chaos, terrorism and sabotage within its borders.
The Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli siege since the Hamas resistance movement won the parliamentary elections in 2007.
The underground steel barrier tightens the Israeli siege on the impoverished sliver.
Gazans say they have been using the network of underground tunnels to bring in their basic necessities including food and medicine after Tel Aviv cut them off from the rest of the world.
Egyptian authorities have remained tight-lipped about the details of the work amid rising anti-Egypt sentiments across the globe.
On Sunday, Human Rights Watch once again criticized Egypt for its role in “collectively punishing” Gazans by keeping its Rafah border crossing closed.
While primarily pointing its finger at Israel for refusing Gazans their basic needs, the leading humanitarian organization also argued that Egypt’s role in the deadly siege "cannot be denied."
"If Cairo wanted to it could end the siege of Gaza tomorrow," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Director of the group’s Middle East and North Africa division.