By Courtney Trenwith
Egyptian soldier-turned-president says the need for a unified Arab force is ‘growing and becoming more pressing every day’
Egyptian president Abdel-Fattah Al Sissi has called for a joint Arab military force to help face the threat of Islamic militancy.
In a national address on local TV, Al Sissi said Egypt’s military would not invade other nations but would defend its territory and that of the Arab world “if required and in coordination with our Arab brothers,” Associated Press reported.
“The need for a unified Arab force is growing and becoming more pressing every day,” he said.
Sissi led the military takeover of Mohamed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood leader, in July 2013 and was elected president in June, 2014.
His assertion that a joint Arab military force was needed was the first public confirmation by an Arab leader that such a force was possible, AP said. He did not give details or say whether any concrete steps had been taken.
It was reported last November that Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait were discussing the creation of a military pact to take on Islamic militants, with the possibility of a joint force to intervene around the Middle East.
Sissi said the UAE and Jordan had offered military assistance to Egypt following last week’s beheading in Libya of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians by ISIL militants.