Egypt’s National Defense Council agreed in a meeting to extend the deployment of Egyptian Armed Forces units in the Red Sea and the Bab Al-Mandab strait.
The meeting was headed by Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi and attended by the ministers of defense, finance, foreign affairs and interior, as well as commanders of Egypt’s Armed Forces along with the chiefs of intelligence agencies.
The meeting approved extending the mission of the Egyptian Armed Force units on a foreign assignment to defend the country’s national security in the Red Sea and the Bab Al-Mandab strait, according to the Egyptian presidency statement.
The statement did not put a time frame on the duration of the extension.
Egypt’s air force has been participating in the Saudi-led military coalition against Houthi rebels in Yemen since the coalition was launched in March 2015.
In fact, Saudi Arabia wished that al-Sisi would provide ground troops in Yemen if needed, but it was ultimately balked when the actual military operation started.
Egypt only has Air Force elements in Saudi Arabia, but it does not have any ground forces as unveiled by al-Sisi last August.
During a seven-hour meeting with the editors-in-chiefs of state-owned newspapers last year, al-Sisi said, “We have Air Force elements in Saudi Arabia, but we do not have any ground forces in any Arab country. All of our forces abroad work within the framework of the United Nations peacekeeping forces.”
Saudi Arabia was disappointed by al-Sisi regime stances after it channeled billions of dollars to stabilize his military regime after he led a military coup against Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi in 2013.
Relations have soared between both countries when Egypt voted in favor of the Russian resolution in the UN Security Council last October.
Saudi Arabia, the major Gulf backer, described Egypt’s vote as a “painful” stance.
After the voting, the Saudi ambassador to the UN, Abduallah al-Mouallimi said, “It was painful that the Senegalese and Malaysian stance was closer to the Arab’s consensus than the Egyptian delegation.”
He also said that he feels pity for these countries that voted for the Russian resolution, stressing that his country will continue backing the Syrian people by all means.
Two days following the voting, Saudi state-owned oil company Aramco announced halting oil product supply to Egypt.