Fri, 26 Feb 2021 - 02:47 GMT
Fri, 26 Feb 2021 - 02:47 GMT
CAIRO – 26 February 2021: Egypt is one of the most important countries in the United States Central Command (CENTCOM)’s area of responsibility, said Commander of the CENTCOM General Kenneth F. McKenzie, Jr. in an interview with “Yahdoth Fi Masr” talk show on MBC Masr channel.
He said that Egypt occupies a key point in the eastern part at the central command responsibility as it controls the Suez Canal where the US ships have no any security issues when passing through the canal.
McKenzie paid a one-day visit to Egypt on February 22, 2021, when he met with President Abdel Fatah El Sisi, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces Lieutenant General Mohamed Farid Hegazy and U.S. Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Arab Republic of Egypt Jonathan R. Cohen.
“My visit here came as an opportunity to have great knowing with the Chief of Defense and had an opportunity to spend a lot of time with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi,” he said, adding that their meeting has underlined the important military relationship between the two countries.
McKenzie also praised cooperation between Egypt’s air forces and the Egyptian civil Aviation Authority and the US.
Additionally, Egypt is a key member of the international coalition against terrorism and ISIS for many years, he said.
Commenting on his latest warning of ISIS presence, McKenzie said that his definition of “the defeat of ISIS is that when local security forces can handle the local pockets of the ISIS that continue to arise, but the future will not be without ISIS and whatever organization follows ISIS. There will not be a bloodless future either, unfortunately. However, what we want do is be able to empower the local security forces to do their work.”
“ISIS in North Sinai is an example of where ISIS can arise in uncontrolled conditions and I think Egypt has responded very reasonably and very smartly towards these challenges,” he continued.
He also said that Iran is the greatest threat to the CENTCOM in region, adding that It is exporting terrorism and making the ballistic missiles, wishing it could change to be a responsible member.
McKenzie continued that the Central Command is working with allies to improve the military air defense against Iranian ballistic missiles.
In his meeting with President Sisi, the commander of Centcom affirmed eagerness to maintain the same frequency of coordination and consultation with Egypt over regional affairs. He added that the strong military ties between both countries are crucial in the face of the ongoing challenges that put the stability and security of the region in jeopardy.
McKenzie said that the Egyptian role is pivotal in supporting regional peace and security, specifying Egypt's endeavors to combat terrorism and extremism.
Both parties agreed to continue regular coordination and consultation over matters of mutual interest.
On February 17, the U.S. State Department approved the sale of new military equipment to Egypt estimated at a cost of $197 million, according to a press release by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency.
According to the release, the sale includes Rolling Airframe Missiles (RAM) Block 2 Tactical Missiles and other related equipment.