Foreign Minister’s statement over sending troops to Syria does not pertain to Egypt

Official spokesperson of Egypt’s Foreign Affairs Ministry Ahmed Abu Zeid said in a press statement on Friday that Egypt does not send forces outside its territory stressing that such a decision is only subject to constitutional mechanisms and specific political and legal regulations.

The Spokesperson’s statement came as an explanation to Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry’s latest statement made at a function on Wednesday night during which he said there is possibility that Arab countries send forces to Syria in response to some questions raised over this topic.

Abu Zeid explained in the press statement released on the Ministry’s official Facebook page that Shoukry’s statement did not pertain to Egypt, stressing that his country is not willing to send troops to Syria by any means.

“The principles governing the dispatch of Egyptian forces outside its territory are known to everyone. That wouldn’t  take place unless it goes in accordance with constitutional mechanisms, regulations and rules that had been emphasized more than once, such as cases linked to United Nations peacekeeping operations,” he said.

Recently, the US based newspaper of The Wall Street Journal released a report in which it highlighted an alleged request by the United States to Egypt to send armed forces to Syria.

In response to that recent former undersecretary of Egypt’s General Intelligence Mohammad Rashad told Egypt Independent that Egypt will summarily decline any such invitation.

“The Egyptian Armed Forces are not mercenaries [and cannot be] leased or ordered by foreign states to deploy forces in a certain area. This is not acceptable and no one […] should dare to direct or give instructions to Egypt’s army,” Rashad said.

The WSJ report cited US officials as saying that that the “Trump administration is seeking to assemble an Arab force to replace the US military contingent in Syria and help stabilize the northeastern part of the country after the defeat of Islamic State”. Included in that force would be Egyptian troops.

Rashad told Egypt Independent that Egypt is not interested to militarily intervene in Syria, adding that the Sisi regime has adopted a neutral stance towards the conflict.

The report claimed that recently-appointed national security adviser John Bolton has called Egypt’s acting intelligence chief Abbas Kamel to see if Cairo would be willing to contribute with military personnel.

The newspaper quoted anonymous US officials who noted that the Trump administration also has reached out to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, requesting of them to provide billions of dollars as funds to help restore northern Syria, while also asking them to send troops.

“Egypt is adopting a strategy that is based on supporting the unity of the Syrian territories and its national army, therefore, Egypt is refusing any interference from foreign countries in Syria as the matter is related to the Syrian people and only they have the authority to decide their fate,” Rashed explained.

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