Aaron T. Rose
March 12, 2014
Defence minister overseeing final stages of military exercises and meeting officials
A picture made available by the United Arab Emirates’ official news agency WAM shows Egyptian Defense Minister and Military Chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (C) saluting as he is welcomed by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi (R) upon his arrival in Abu Dhabi on March 11, 2014.
Minister of Defence Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi arrived in the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday on an official visit to the Gulf nation.
Al-Sisi, accompanied by a cadre of high-ranking military delegation was in the UAE to oversee the final stages of Zayed 1, a two-week long joint military exercise between the UAE and Egypt.
While in the UAE, Al-Sisi was welcomed by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi and deputy commander of the country’s armed forces. The pair discussed “means of develop joint cooperation” between the allies according to WAM, the state-run Emirate news agency.
Field Marshal Al-Sisi also met with other Emirate military officials and reviewed the honour guard, according to a statement by the official Egyptian military spokesman.
The joint military exercises began on 2 March. The special forces of both armies trained on shooting “hostile targets” using live ammunition under a “competitive environment” which showed the troops’ ability to deal with hostile targets with “speed, precision and high efficiency,” said the army spokesman.
The UAE has been a strong ally to Egypt since the 3 July ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi. The Emirates have provided Egypt with nearly $7bn in grants, loans and oil, according to state-run Al-Ahram.
After Saudi Arabia listed the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation last week, the UAE’s foreign minister pledged full support for the Saudi decision. The Muslim Brotherhood was listed as a terrorist organisation in Egypt on 25 December.
Speculation has run rampant that Al-Sisi will run for the Egyptian presidency in the upcoming elections, expected to occur in mid-April.