Establishing ‘Arab NATO’ is not possible at current stage: Egypt’s FM

Ahram Online , Thursday 30 Jun 2022

Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry stated on Wednesday that establishing an Arab military alliance akin to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) is not possible and would not be proposed.

File Photo: Egypt s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry. AFP
File Photo: Egypt s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry. AFP

 

Shoukry’s remarks came in a joint press conference Wednesday with Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Alzayani on the sidelines of President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi’s two-day visit to Bahrain.

In the past few days, speculation regarding the creation of an “Arab NATO” involving US-sponsored Arab-Israeli security cooperation has widely circulated in advance of US President Joe Biden’s visit to the region in mid-July.

Though Shoukry ruled out the idea of creating an Arab NATO at the current stage, he stressed the importance of reinforcing joint Arab action, according to the Bahraini daily Akhbar-Alkhaleej.

“We are confident that our joint capabilities are great and capable of protecting Arab national security interests against any interference from outside the Arab region,” the Bahraini newspaper quoted Shoukry as saying.

The top Egyptian diplomat stressed, “we have an interest in continuing consultations and coordination at the level of relevant leaderships and agencies to maximise benefit from cooperation among us in all fields [including] political, economic and security, because we have a common history and destiny that must be preserved.”

In an interview with to CNBC earlier this week, Jordan's King Abdullah II said he believed a Middle Eastern military alliance could be built with like-minded countries, stressing that the vision of such an alliance must be very clear.

The remarks come nearly two weeks before the upcoming Gulf Cooperation Council+3 Summit which will be chaired by Saudi Arabia on 16 June.

The summit will host the heads of state of the GCC countries, the leaders of Egypt, Jordan and Iraq, as well as US President Joe Biden, who will be making his first tour in the Middle East by visiting Saudi Arabia, Israel and the West Bank.

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