Asmara, Eritrea, Asharq Al-Awsat—The Arab League is moving closer to forming a joint Arab military force to deal with the conflicts raging in the region, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shokri has said.
Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on the sidelines of a state visit to Eritrea, he acknowledged that the region is facing an unprecedented level of conflict, most recently with the ongoing crisis in Yemen.
“There can be no doubt that the situation in Yemen requires serious effort in order to find a solution to the deteriorating humanitarian situation and the suffering of the Yemeni people. We need to find a way to return legitimacy and restore stability to Yemen,” Shokri said.
Egypt is part of the Saudi-led alliance that has intervened militarily in Yemen to back legitimate President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi against the Shi’ite Houthi militia and supporters of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh. At present, Cairo’s involvement has not gone beyond naval deployments in the Gulf of Aden.
“Egypt is continuing its participation in the alliance and is doing everything in its power to stop the escalation. We are in contact with our partners to provide assistance and help reach a political framework conducive to securing a ceasefire, returning Yemen’s legitimate government to power and ensuring Yemeni security and stability,” he added.
Speaking in late March, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi announced that Arab leaders had agreed to form a united military force to combat the “challenges” facing the Middle East, including the ongoing unrest in Yemen.
The joint military force, which would fall under the purview of the Arab League, would be able to carry out rapid intervention to deal with unfolding crises.
Shokri said that efforts are already underway to produce a viable framework for the joint Arab military force. “Technical teams are already working to develop a vision to establish a joint Arab force, and this will be ready within the next four months,” he said.