Cairo: Egyptian Preident Abdul Fatah Al Sissi on Monday said that Yemen’s stability is crucial for his country’s national security and the entire region.
The Egyptian leader made the remarks following his talks in Cairo with Yemeni President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who arrived earlier in the day for a two-day visit.
The visit comes a few weeks after Yemen’s Iran-allied militants Al Houthis attacked two Saudi oil tankers in the Bab Al Mandab Strait, a vital waterway between the Arabian Peninsula and Africa, linking the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden and the Suez Canal.
The attack prompted Saudi Arabia to briefly halt oil exports through the shipping lane.
Al Sissi, whose country is a key ally of Saudi Arabia, voiced opposition to threats to Red Sea navigation and Iranian intervention in Yemen.
“We categorically refuse that Yemen turns into a foothold of influence for non-Arab powers or a platform to threaten security and stability of sisterly Arab countries or freedom of navigation in the Red Sea and Bab Al Mandab,” he added at a joint press conference with Hadi.
Al Houthis’ threats to international trade in the Red Sea and Bab Al Mandab are seen as having a negative impact on the Suez Canal, a key foreign currency earner.
Al Sissi renewed support for Hadi’s internationally recognised government in standing firm “against anyone who wants to tamper with the Yemeni people’s resources”.
He said his talks with Hadi focused on boosting ties between the two countries, Yemen’s crisis and its political and security repercussions.
“We also reviewed forms of support that Egypt can offer in pushing forward mechanisms of the political solution and easing the suffering of the Yemeni people,” Al Sissi added without elaborating.
Egypt is a partner to a Saudi-led Arab coalition supporting the Hadi administration, which the Iran-aligned Al Houthis ousted from the capital Sana’a in late 2014.
Hadi said in Cairo that he had discussed with Al Sissi the Red Sea security in view of Al Houthis’ threats. “We look forward to the end of war and an end to the suffering of our people as a result of violence and militancy practised by the coup militia that has thrown itself into the arms of Iran,” he added.
Hadi expressed appreciation to Egypt for hosting thousand of Yemenis who have fled the war in their homeland.
In Cairo, Hadi is due to meet head of the Arab League Ahmad Abu Al Gait to rally more Arab support for his country. Hadi’s talks are also expected to tackle a spike in missile attacks by Al Houthis on neighbouring Saudi Arabia and confronting Iran’s destabilising moves in the region, Egyptian media reported. He will also confer with Yemeni politicians staying in Egypt.
Hadi’s visit, his third to Egypt since he took office in 2012, comes as his loyalists, backed by the Arab Coalition, are pushing for expelling Al Houthis from the Red Sea city of Hodeida and its crucial port.
In June, the coalition unleashed a massive offensive to liberate Hodeida, which has been under Al Houthis’ control since October 2014. The battle over Hodeida is the biggest in Yemen’s war of nearly four years.