CAIRO: International efforts are necessary to prevent any harm against Red Sea security and international maritime navigation, said the Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi said during talks with Saudi Monarch Salman bin Abdulaziz Sunday.
President Sisi is paying a one-day visit to the kingdom Sunday, talking with Salman and the Saudi Crown Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz about the Yemen crisis and its impact on Gulf States, said presidential spokesperson Alaa Youssef Sunday.
Since early January, Yemeni Shiite Houthis took control of Yemeni capital Sanaa after clashes with the U.S.-allied government forces, and put the Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi under house arrest pushing him to announce his resignation. Hadi since was released from house arrest, and travelled to his hometown of Aden in the South, where he said he is still the “legitimate president.”
It was reported in January that the Houthis could approach and control the Bab el-Mandeb Strait linking Egypt’s Suez Canal and the Indian Ocean. However, Yemeni newspapers reported that Iran warned the Houthis group against reaching the strait to avoid any possible problems with Egypt.
Egypt’s Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab and Chief of Suez Canal Authority Moham Mamish announced that Egypt would not allow any control over the Strait and could intervene militarily. AP reported Monday that “Egypt has set up a special rapid deployment force” to take military action and intervene if the Houthis threatened maritime navigation through the strait.
On Jan. 26, a U.S. military delegation headed by Deputy Commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Rear Admiral James T. Loeblein paid a two-day visit to Egypt, discussing the latest developments in Yemen, and their possible effect on maritime navigation in the Red Sea and Arabian Sea, DPA reported.
Sisi and Salman’s Sunday talks also tackled Libyan issues; Sisi said that the Libyan crisis should be solved politically, and stressed the necessity to stop weapons supplies to the “terrorist militants” in Libya and the support of the official Libyan institutions such as Tobruk-based Libyan government and its parliament.
Sisi highlighted the necessity of finding a political solution for the Syrian Crisis to prevent the “terrorism expansion” to the neighboring countries, the presidency office stated.