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Egypt could send forces to stabilise future Palestinian state: El-Sisi

AFP, Sunday 23 Nov 2014
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi (Photo: Reuters)
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Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi said in an interview published Sunday that he would be prepared to send troops to a future Palestinian state to help stabilise it.

El-Sisi, who begins his first European trip on Monday since the ouster of his Islamist predecessor, made the comments in an interview with Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.

He is due to visit France and Italy, while the trip will also include a meeting with Pope Francis.

The Egyptian leader said he would send forces to a future Palestinian state in agreement with Israel and the Palestinian authority.

"We are ready to send military forces into a Palestinian state," he said.

"We would help the local police and reassure the Israelis through our role as guarantor. Not forever, of course. For the time necessary to reestablish confidence. But first a Palestinian state must exist where troops can be sent to."

El-Sisi said he had spoken of the idea with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas.

Speaking of neighbouring Libya, El-Sisi described the country as having descended into "chaos" and said "extremely dangerous jihadist bases" were being established there.

"The international community must make a very clear and joint choice in favour of the Libyan national army and no one else," Sisi said. "Aid, equipment, training must be sent to it exclusively."

El-Sisi also said Egypt had not intervened militarily in Libya. Egypt has denied reports that it facilitated air strikes by the United Arab Emirates, a close ally, against militias in Libya.

President Mohamed Morsi was overthrown in July 2013 after mass protest agaisnt his rule, prompting a wave of violence between supporters and security forces that drew rebukes from the United States and Europe. But Egypt has come back in from the cold since El-Sisi's landslide election win earlier this year, boosted by its increasingly central role in combating regional Islamist militancy.

This story has been edited by Ahram Online 

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