Egypt's Sisi in UAE in first visit to Gulf

Photo: Egypt's Sisi in UAE in first visit to Gulf  / Arab World

Egyptian military chief Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has arrived in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a country which was a strong supporter of his July ousting of President Mohamed Morsi Al Hazeera reported.

Field Marshal Sisi, who is Egypt's defence minister and deputy prime minister, travelled to the UAE to attend the closure of joint military exercises there.

He was met by UAE deputy army chief Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan.

The two men noted the "fraternal and solid relations linking the two countries and their peoples," and their wish to "consolidate bilateral cooperation," the WAM news agency reported, without giving details on Sisi's plans or the length of his stay.

The UAE has given Egypt $4.9bn in financial aid since Morsi's overthrow, as well as deposited $2bn in the Egyptian central bank, interest free, the AFP news agency reported.

Last week, the UAE joined Saudi Arabia and Bahrain in recalling their ambassadors from fellow Gulf Cooperation Council member Qatar over its support for Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood.

Closer ties

The UAE's Arabtec contractor signed a memorandum of understanding on Sunday to develop a $40bn project to build one million housing units in Egypt.

The signing came ahead of an expected announcement by Sisi that he will run in elections to replace Morsi, a vote he is widely expected to win.

Sisi has emerged as the most popular political figure in Egypt following Morsi's troubled year-long rule, with many viewing him as a strong leader who can restore stability after three years of unrest unleashed by the 2011 revolt that toppled Hosni Mubarak.

Egypt has been stepping up pressure on the Brotherhood, which it has labelled a terrorist organisation. It has arrested thousands of its leaders on accusations of violence.

The Brotherhood denies any links to violence and accuses the army of staging a coup.

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