Egypt’s withdrawal from ‘Arab NATO’ welcomed by Iran

A camel walks past the pyramid of Khafre (also known as Chephren) at the Giza pyramids necropolis on the southwestern outskirts of the Egyptian capital Cairo . AFP/File/Mohamed el-Shahed

A camel walks past the pyramid of Khafre (also known as Chephren) at the Giza pyramids necropolis on the southwestern outskirts of the Egyptian capital Cairo . AFP/File/Mohamed el-Shahed

According to Cairo, it has yet to see a formal blueprint of the initiative, and so doubts the seriousness of the plan.

Iran’s foreign ministry has applauded a decision by Egypt to withdraw from a US-led “Arab NATO” initiative, according to the Iranian state news agency IRNA.

On Thursday, Bahram Qasemi, the ministry spokesperson, said that although the move was as of yet unconfirmed, Tehran welcomed the initiative.

“Egypt is an important and powerful country both in the Arab and in the Muslim world that can play a key role in creating peace, stability, and security in the West Asia region,” said Qasemi. “In case the news is confirmed, we will welcome that.”

Reuters reported earlier on Thursday that Egypt conveyed its decision to the United States and other participants in the proposed Middle East Security Alliance (Mesa), citing an unidentified source.

According to Cairo, it has yet to see a formal blueprint of the Arab NATO initiative, and so doubts the seriousness of the plan, and fears that the move could increase tensions with Iran.

And if US President Donald Trump fails to win a second term in office next year, it’s uncertain whether his successor will follow the initiative.

The initiative, which Saudi Arabia first proposed in 2017, is also aimed at limiting the growing regional influence of Russia and China, according to a classified White House document reviewed by Reuters last year, Al Jazeera reported.

In addition to the US and Saudi Arabia, the Mesa proposed participants include the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and Jordan.

– African News Agency

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