Egypt's Sisi discusses newly formed Islamic military coalition with Saudi defence minister

Passant Darwish , Tuesday 15 Dec 2015

The 34-state coalition includes Arab and African countries such as Egypt, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, together with other Muslim countries like Turkey, Malaysia and Pakistan


Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi met on Tuesday with deputy Saudi crown prince and defence chief Mohammed bin Salman in Cairo hours after King Salman announced the formation of a Saudi-led Islamic military coalition.

During the meeting, President El-Sisi said that Arab efforts should be targeted towards reaching political settlements for some of the crises that face some of the Arab states, which would ensure their stability and unity.

Both sides, according to a statement released by presidential spokesman Alaa Youssef, shared the same vision on the importance of "stopping bloodshed and working on ending these crises in the nearest possible time."

El-Sisi said that the coalition is important in achieving the aforementioned goals and protecting the Arab states.

"Areas of crisis are fertile grounds for extremism and terrorism to grow," he added.

The 34-state Islamic military coalition includes Arab and African countries such as Egypt, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, together with other Islamic countries like Turkey, Malaysia and Pakistan. 

A Saudi statement in the early hours of Tuesday 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."

Egypt’s foreign ministry said the country endorses the coalition, adding in a statement that “Egypt supports all efforts to defeat terrorism, especially if such efforts are Islamic or Arab.”

Egypt’s Al-Azhar, the highest Sunni authority, said the decision to form the coalition is “historic.”

Hours prior to Saudi Arabia announcing the formation of the coalition, Egypt's defence minister Sedki Sobhi met with Saudi ambassador Ahmed Ben Abdel-Aziz Qattan on Monday.

The meeting involved discussions on the latest regional developments, especially in Syria, Yemen and Libya.

Meanwhile, the deputy crown prince praised what Egypt achieved recently in the economic, political and security arenas, stressing "Saudi Arabia’s continuing stance on supporting and standing by Egypt in its development process."

The two also discussed the second meeting of the recently formed joint Egyptian-Saudi coordination council, which aims to strengthen coordination, economic ties and trade between the two countries.

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