Securing Bab al-Mandab Strait top priority: Egyptian President
Press Trust of India | Cairo April 4, 2015 Last Updated at 22:22 IST
Egypt today said that securing access to strategic Bab al-Mandab Strait off Yemen's coast is a "top priority", days after it joined a Saudi-led offensive against Houthi rebels in Yemen.
"Securing navigation in the Red Sea and protecting Bab el-Mandab Strait is a top priority for Egypt's national security," President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi said in a televised speech after meeting the Supreme Council for Armed Forces to discuss the situation in North Sinai, where militants killed at least 15 soldiers and two civilians in last two days.
Sisi said that the strategic Bab el-Mandeb strait is "an Arab as well as Egyptian national security case".
The president also said that Arab national security won't be protected unless all Arab countries come together.
The strategic narrow Bab al-Mandab Strait, located between Yemen on the Arabian Peninsula, and Djibouti and Eritrea in the Horn of Africa, connects the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden.
Egypt needs uninterrupted access to the Red Sea, located at the southern end of the Suez Canal, through which much of the world's maritime trade passes.
According to the US Energy Information Administration's (EIA), 3.8 million barrels of oil and "refined petroleum products" passed through the Bab el-Mandeb each day on its way to Europe, Asia, and the US, making it the world's fourth- busiest chokepoint.
Reports said that Yemen's Houthi militia on Tuesday entered a coastal military base overlooking the strategic Bab el-Mandeb strait.
Egypt is part of the Saudi-led coalition to dislodge Houthi rebels sweeping from Yemen.
Received on Sat Apr 04 2015 - 18:00:50 EDT