Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi says his administration supports Syrian government forces fighting to cleanse Syria of foreign-sponsored terrorists.
Sisi said in a recent interview with the Portuguese broadcaster RTP that the Syrian military was capable of restoring stability to the country.
“Our priority is to support national armies, for example in Libya to assert control over Libyan territories and deal with extremist elements. The same with Syria and Iraq,” the Egyptian president made the comments during the interview aired on Tuesday.
Elsewhere in his interview, President Sisi said militant groups operating across Syria must be dismantled. He also said the ongoing crisis in Syria should be resolved through “political” means.
“Our stance in Egypt is to respect the will of the Syrian people,” the Egyptian president said, adding that a political solution to the crisis in Syria was “the most suitable way.”
President Sisi also stated that the issue of terrorist groups should be “seriously” dealt with and that work must be done to “disarm them.”
Asked if he would send Egyptian peacekeepers to Syria under a peace deal, Sisi said, “It is better that the national army take responsibility” and that his priority was to “support the national army” of Syria.
Sisi’s remarks could irk Saudi Arabia and some Persian Gulf Arab monarchies that back Takfiri terrorist groups, including Daesh, operating to topple the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The comments come as a rift between Saudi Arabia and Egypt is deepening amid disagreements about regional politics including the warming of ties between Moscow and Cairo, Egypt’s refusal to send troops to Yemen and Syria and the Egyptians’ opposition to Saudi-backed Wahhabi terrorists.
Tensions between Saudi Arabia and Egypt increased after an Egyptian court nullified the transfer of the sovereignty of two Red Sea islands to the kingdom.
Cairo officially announced in early November that Saudi Arabia had indefinitely halted shipments of oil products that were part of a $23-billion aid deal with Egypt.