Egypt's FM says plans to form joint Arab military force still alive

Ahram Online , Monday 22 Aug 2016

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry says procedures to form the joint Arab military force might take time

Sameh Shoukry
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry (Photo:Reuters)

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said last year's plans to form a joint Arab military force are still ongoing despite the long delay.

Egypt proposed the creation of the force duirng an Arab League summit in March 2015, with the aim of combating threat from Islamist extemists and intervening in troubled areas in the region.

The idea of the initiative gained steam when first intoduced last year after Saudi Arabia and Arab allies launched air strikes on Houthi rebels in Yemen in March 2015.

Steps were taken by the league member countries and Arab ministers of defence, but the process was postponed indefinitely in August 2015.

But Shoukry stressed on Sunday that the Egyptian initiative to "preserve national Arab security" is still alive.

During a gathering with high school students, Shoukry said steps on the matter are delayed "because of our ambition to not intoduce [the force] unless the vision is totally complete to achieve our hopes."

"[Finalising procedures to create the force and measures to guarantee its success] might take time so parties can be reassured it is implemented in a way that serves its purpose," Shoukry said in comments carried by state news agency MENA.

There was consensus duirng last year's summit in the resort city of Sharm El-Sheikh that the initiative is necessary and "should be impelmented," he added.

Arab leaders who gathered at an Arab summit in Mauritania last month renewed their backing for the initiative and called for speedy steps to implement it, Shoukry added.

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