Egyptian president backs unified Arab force to confront regional threats

al-Sisi says Arab world faces ‘unprecedented’ threats, says Yemen intervention ‘inevitable’

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (right) receiving Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (left), in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. Arab leaders started the annual summit conference in the Egyptian Red Sea resort town of Sharm al-Sheikh, with several of the countries in the grip of chaos. Arab leaders are expected to discuss a draft resolution to set up a pan Arab military force to intervene in regional crises. Photograph: Egyptian presidency/EPA

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (right) receiving Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (left), in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. Arab leaders started the annual summit conference in the Egyptian Red Sea resort town of Sharm al-Sheikh, with several of the countries in the grip of chaos. Arab leaders are expected to discuss a draft resolution to set up a pan Arab military force to intervene in regional crises. Photograph: Egyptian presidency/EPA

 

Egypt’s president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi told an Arab League summit on Saturday that Cairo backed calls for a unified Arab force to confront regional security threats.

Mr Sisi also said Egypt’s participation in a military campaign against Shia Houthi militias in Yemen, which has been led by Saudi Arabia, aimed to “preserve Yemen’s unity and the peace of its territories.”

Military intervention in Yemen by a 10-nation coalition led by Saudi Arabia was “inevitable,” Egypt’s president said.

Mr al-Sisi also endorsed the creation of a joint Arab military force, saying that the Arab world was facing “unprecedented” threats and, without mentioning it by name, accused Shia, non-Arab Iran of meddling in Arab affairs.

The campaign of airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition was in response to a power grab in the impoverished nation by Iranian-backed Shia rebels known as the Houthis. Iran and the Houthis deny that Tehran arms the rebel movement.

Mr al-Sisi made the remarks at the opening session of an Arab summit held in Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

Agencies