Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry declared Sunday that Egypt would send ground troops to Yemen if the situation called for such military action.
“Egypt is participating in the Yemen coalition through air, sea and ground if necessary, but we have not got to this point now,” the minister said on Sky News channel.
Egypt is strongly concerned over the humanitarian situation in Yemen, he said, adding that there is no way to resolve the crisis in the country except through national dialogue. By the end of May, Saudi Arabia had launched its first airstrike in southern Yemen against Shi’a Houthi rebels, to “protect the legitimacy of Yemeni President Mansur Hadi”.
On 9 May, Yemen’s Houthi militias and the allied military units accepted a five-day truce. The truce came after a proposal by Saudi Arabia and intensified bombing of the capital Sana’a, and Sa’da, the Houthi stronghold in northern Yemen.
“The Houthis wasted the opportunity of the truce to start entering a political dialogue,” Shoukry said.
Shoukry also denounced Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s recent attacks on Egypt, saying that “repeatedly attacks caused us not to care much, because it reflects personal issues not to be faced by a country’s foreign policies”.
Turkey has regularly criticised the Egyptian government and its conduct since the ouster of president Mohamed Morsi, most recently when Morsi was handed a death sentence last week.
Despite the issuance of a number of foreign ministry statements against Turkey and its president, Shoukry said Egypt will not get into a debate with Erdogan. He said this was due to the level of relations between states, which should be on a higher level than they are currently. Shoukry also said the Turkish president is difficult to deal with on the level of states due to his “unfamiliar and biased comments”.
Turkey and Qatar uphold similar positions on many regional affairs, but Cairo is seeking to achieve the interest of Arab solidarity, the minister said.
Challenges and threats facing the Arab region were on the agenda of the Saturday meeting between Shoukry and Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. At the top of this list was the situation in Libya.
Shoukry also discussed Sunday with Abdelkader Messahel, Minister of Maghreb Affairs in the African Union and the Arab League Sunday, the Libyan situation, highlighting the United Nations efforts for the formation of a national unity government based on wide consensus. The ministers also discussed illegal immigration in the Mediterranean, an issue closely related to the situation in Libya.
Egypt and Algeria agreed on the critical importance of upholding the principle of Arabism as a key driver for the Arab interactions, away from sectarian conflicts and strife.