Sisi speaks of stability, relations with Gulf nations, need for joint Arab force

In interview with Al Arabiya, Egyptian president says gulf nations' support throughout history "will not be forgotten," serves as contributing force to nations security.

March 1, 2015 09:12
2 minute read.
Abdul Fattah al-Sisi

Egypt's President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi looks on as he delivers a speech in Cairo.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi spoke of the country's stability Saturday, attributing it in part to the support of the Gulf nations and to the Muslim Brotherhood's lack of power, a party which Sisi said most Egyptians do not wish to see the return of, according to Al Arabiya.

Sisi spoke of a strong and stable relationship between Egypt and its "brothers in the Gulf" in an interview to Al Arabiya.

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Sisi told Al Arabiya that the Gulf States, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait "played a huge role in supporting the Egyptian people's will until today," referring to specific historical events such as the 1956 Sinai War, the 1973 Yom Kippur War, and the oil embargo of the same year.

"This will not be forgotten," he said.

The Egyptian president is set to make his way to Saudi Arabia Sunday, in order to congratulate the new Saudi King Salman on his appointment and cement their relations at a time when, Sisi said, the region's stability is being challenged.

Saudi Arabia has played an active role in Egpytian-Gulf relations, most recently mediating a reconciliation between Egypt and Qatar, an effort pushed by the late Saudi King Abdullah which Sisi said he "appreciated and respected" and Riyadh declared an opening of a "blank page" between the two Middle Eastern nations.

During his interview with Al Arabiya, Sisi emphasized the need for a joint Arab force in the region in order to ensure stability and counter security threats in the light of insurgencies.

He said Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Jordan would be most fit to lead the formation of such a force.

The Egyptian president briefly addressed Turkey in his interview with Al Arabiya, criticizing its interference in Egyptian affairs.

Sisi then turned to address the conflicts in Syria and Yemen. The president told Al Arabiya that the conflict in Syria should come to a halt through diplomatic measures, and not through military means - an option which would leave the country a vulnerable hotbed for terrorism to thrive on, he said, like in Libya post-NATO mission.

Addressing Yemen, Sisi said the "problem is too complicated" and could only be solved should the Arab world unite and its "wounds" be "healed," a process which would require  "complete devotion."

As a backdrop to Sisi's interview with Al Arabiya, an Egyptian court listed Hamas as a terrorist organization Saturday as part of a sustained crackdown on Islamists in its territory. This came following the sentencing of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s top leader Mohamed Badie to life in prison while other members of the organization received the death penalty.

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