Egypt’s Sisi stresses support for GCC, Saudi Arabia

Egypt will not abandon its allies in the GCC and ‘ will defend them if we have to’ President Abdul Fatah al-Sisi told reporters

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Egypt’s president said his country would defend its GCC allies if it needs to adding that securing the Bab al-Mandeb strait off Yemen’s coast is a matter of Egyptian and Arab security, Al Arabiya News Channel reported.

Egypt will not abandon its allies in the GCC and “ will defend them if we have to,” President Abdul Fatah al-Sisi told reporters after attending a meeting of the country’s Supreme Council of Armed Forces.

Egypt joined eight other countries nine days ago in supporting a Saudi-led coalition that has been battling Houthi militias in Yemen.

“Securing navigation in the Red Sea and protecting Bab al-Mandab Strait is a top priority for Egypt’s national security,” AFP quoted Sisi as saying.

As to Egypt’s involvement in the campaign, Sisi said: "We will not harm our country and brotherly countries with wrong calculations…We are also moving in a political context to evade losses," Al Ahram Online reported.

"Our benefit is in the security and stability of the Arab countries, and the whole world if possible," Sisi said. "We will not let down our brotherly Gulf countries."

Later, in a speech broadcast on state television, Sisi said securing the key waterway of Bab al Mandeb was also a matter of “Arab national security.”

Egypt is taking part in the campaign with its air force and navy, and has pledged to commit ground troops if needed.

Yemen’s main southern city of Aden, a last foothold of supporters of self-exiled President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, has been shaken by more than a week of fierce clashes between Shiite rebels and loyalist militia.

The strait, only 32 kilometers wide, separates southwestern Yemen from the small African country of Djibouti. Control of it by a hostile power could severely threaten maritime traffic passing between the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean.

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