Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE's Armed Forces Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Wednesday discussed the prospective of maintaining security and stability in the Middle East, touching among other things on the situation in Libya, Syria, Yemen, and "the Palestinian cause" during a meeting in Cairo.
A statement by the Egyptian presidential office on the meeting said that Sisi and bin Zayed's talks "reflected mutual understanding on continuing joint efforts to address the risks threatening the security and stability of the region's societies, i.e. foreign interventions aimed at serving the agendas of parties that do not want the good of the countries and peoples of the region".
"In this context, the president asserted Egypt's commitment to its firm stance towards Gulf security as an extension of Egyptian national security and rejection of any practices that seek to destabilise it", the statement reads.
Crown Prince Bin Zayed stressed the importance of continuing "intensive" coordination and consultation, and pursuing an exchange of views between Cairo and Abu Dhabi "to address the challenges and crises facing the Arab nation and to stand against interference in the internal affairs of Arab countries in a manner aimed at destabilising the security of the region and its people".
It was a pleasure to meet Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in Cairo. We discussed ways to strengthen our bilateral ties and develop areas of cooperation. We also considered issues of peace and stability in the region pic.twitter.com/bfpQxGBvhE— محمد بن زايد (@MohamedBinZayed) December 16, 2020
During Wednesday's talks at the Heliopolis (presidential palace), Sisi and bin Zayed also discussed bilateral ties, including energy cooperation. The Egyptian president welcomed the UAE's decision to join the EastMed Gas Forum as an observer state.
The Middle East is known as a magnet for extra-regional powers who are unsurprisingly interested in the region's vast fossil fuel reserves. Since the second half of the 20th century, one of the key external powers present in the Middle East has been the US.
The beginning of the 21st century saw a series of events occur in the region in which the West and Washington, in particular, played a significant role.
Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the administration of US President George W. Bush announced its so-called War on Terror, focusing attention on the Middle East, starting with military operations in Afghanistan, before invading Iraq in 2003 to destroy the weapons of mass destruction (WMD) that had been falsely alleged to be in the possession of late Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. Iraq is still suffering the consequences of that war.
Libya also fell victim to intervention by European and Western nations in 2011 in the wake of the so-called Arab Spring anti-government uprisings. Libya has been divided between two opposing governments since the NATO overthrow and assassination of the country's longtime leader, Muammar Gaddafi.
In Syria, the reported involvement of the US, along with some other western and regional countries in arming and training Syrian opposition rebels during the civil war that followed the Arab Spring have contributed to worsening the situation, setting back the standard of living by decades. The US has carried out airstrikes on Syrian territory against alleged Daesh terrorist group targets without authorisation from the nation's government.