Egypt opens Mediterranean naval base | News in the Middle East

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi joined Abu Dhabi, the MBZ hereditary prince at the opening ceremony.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has opened a strategic naval base on the Mediterranean Sea to “secure shipping lines,” the presidency said.

“It is the last Egyptian military base in the Mediterranean, and will be focused on the security of the country’s northern and western fronts,” the Egyptian presidency said in a statement Saturday.

The ceremony was attended by the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (MBZ), and the President of the Presidential Council of Libya, Mohamed al-Menfi.

The base is located about 255 kilometers (160 miles) west of Alexandria, towards the border with Libya, a country where Egypt and the United Arab Emirates have played a key military role.

Libya’s new transitional executive has emerged from a UN process that was launched in November in Tunis, after voting in Geneva and confirmed by the Libyan parliament on 10 March.

Egypt and the UAE were the main supporters of Khalifa Haftar, the Libyan military commander of the eastern base who had tried to take the capital Tripoli from the previous government.

The base will focus on the security of the country’s northern and western fronts, the Egyptian presidency said. [AFP]

In April, Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly traveled to Libya, where he had talks with interim Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah, in a new sign of warming ties between Cairo and Tripoli.

Dbeibah visited Egypt in February on his first official trip abroad after his election.

In April, Dbeibah also paid a visit to Abu Dhabi, where he was warmly welcomed by Sheikh Mohammed, who expressed his support for the new Libyan administration.

El-Sisi and his guests have witnessed military maneuvers involving several ships, attack helicopters and fighter jets.

State newspaper Akhbar Al-Youm said the new Egyptian base includes a runway and a 1,000-meter (3,280-foot) long pier.

The base was named “July 3” after eight days ago when Sisi led the military removal of President Mohamed Morsi.

Egypt has three other naval bases in the Mediterranean and one in the Red Sea.

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