Foreign ministry spokesman Ahmed Abo-Zeid said that Egypt supports all efforts to combat terrorism after the Saudi announcement of the formation of a 34-state Islamic military coalition, which includes Egypt.
“Egypt supports all efforts to defeat terrorism, especially if such efforts are Islamic or Arab,” Abo-Zeid told state owned MENA agency. “We endorse it and will be a part of it.”
The spokesman’s comments come a few hours before Saudi Arabian deputy crown prince and Defence Minister Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to Egypt.
A long list of Arab countries such as Egypt, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, together with Islamic countries including Turkey, Malaysia, Pakistan and African states were mentioned in the newly formed Saudi-led Islamic alliance.
The announcement stressed "a duty to protect the Islamic nation from the evils of all terrorist groups and organisations whatever their sect and name which wreak death and corruption on earth and aim to terrorise the innocent."
Details regarding the formation of the military alliance have not been revealed, though Defence Minister bin Salman told reporters that the new alliance will not only confront ISIS, but "any terrorist organisation that appears in front of us."
Abo-Zeid pointed out that the Saudi-led alliance and the recently proposed joint Arab military force are not the same, saying that “there is a difference between both calls as the Islamic alliance aims to fight terrorism only, while the joint Arab military force deals with the challenges that face Arab national security of all kinds, and within Arab territories only.”
Last week, Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi renewed his call for the creation of the joint Arab military force during his inauguration of the 12th Conference of the Arab Thought Foundation hosted in Cairo.
El-Sisi previously proposed the idea of having a joint Arab military force in March during the Arab Economic Summit in Sharm El-Sheikh. The process, however, was postponed indefinitely in August.