Egypt will support the UAE and other Arabian Gulf states to prevent attempts to destabilise the region, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi said on Sunday, following the attacks on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman last week.
The Egyptian leader’s comments came during a meeting with UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed in Cairo. Mr El Sisi reaffirmed Egypt’s support for the UAE during the “critical state the region is experiencing,” the Emirates’ news agency Wam reported.
“Egypt is avidly following up the ongoing developments in the Arabian Gulf region, particularly the latest incidents that posed a menacing threat to the safety of maritime navigation,” Mr El Sisi said.
He added Egypt supports the UAE and Gulf states in the face of “various challenges, including attempts to destabilise the region, which Egypt considers an integral part of its national security”.
The pair also discussed other pressing regional matters, including the conflict raging on the outskirts of Tripoli, the Libyan capital, and the developments in Sudan after talks broke down between the military and the protest leaders in the wake of Omar Al Bashir being removed from office.
Mr El Sisi and Sheikh Abdullah agreed upon the necessity to restore stability to Libya and help secure the rights of the Libyan people, Wam reported. In recent weeks, eastern Libya’s Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar has been waging an offensive to drive militias that back the UN-recognised western Libyan government of Prime Minister Fayez Al Sarraj out of the capital.
Field Marshal Haftar has blasted the western administration for relying on hardline groups – some of which are designated as terrorist organisations by Europe or by the UN – for support. He has said there must be an end to rule by militias but the offensive has not delivered rapid results and the push has been slowed on the outskirts of Tripoli. Hundreds of civilians have been killed or displaced by the fighting.
On Sudan, Mr El Sisi and Sheikh Abdullah expressed their “explicit solidarity with the people of Sudan to survive the current critical stage and fulfil their ambitions.”
In the weeks since Mr Al Bashir was removed from office in April by the military in the face of mass protests, opposition groups and the army ruling council have been discussing the transition. However, talks have broken down and elements in the army moved to clear a protest site near the military headquarters and the raid led to upwards of 100 deaths, the protest groups said. The fallout has seen diplomatic efforts to encourage both sides back to the table.
“On Yemen and Syrian, the two sides reaffirmed their continued efforts to seek political solutions to the crises experienced by the two nations and put an end to their peoples’ suffering,” Wam said.
The meeting was attended by Dr Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State, Sameh Shokri, Egyptian Foreign Minister, Major General Abbas Kamel, Director of the Egyptian General Intelligence and Juma Mubarak Al Junaibi, UAE Ambassador to Egypt.