Egypt Adds Naval Base in Mediterranean Sea

Egypt Adds Naval Base in Mediterranean Sea

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has opened a strategic naval base in the Mediterranean Sea. The move was to secure shipping lanes.

UMMATIMES - The ceremony was attended by the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (MBZ), and chairman of the Libyan Presidential Council Mohamed al-Menfi. "This is Egypt's newest military base in the Mediterranean, and it will be focused on securing the country's northern and western fronts," the Egyptian presidency said in a statement Saturday.

El-Sisi and his guests witnessed military maneuvers involving several ships, attack helicopters and fighter jets. The state-run newspaper Akhbar Al-Youm reported that the new Egyptian base includes an airstrip and a 1,000-meter-long jetty.

Quoted from Al Jazeera, the base was named July 3 to commemorate eight years ago when Sisi led the military coup of President Mohamed Morsi. Egypt has three other naval bases in the Mediterranean and one in the Red Sea.

The base is located about 255 kilometers west of Alexandria, towards the border with Libya. Libya is a region of conflict with Egypt and the United Arab Emirates has played a key military role.

Libya's new transitional executive emerged from a UN process launched in November in Tunis. It then voted in Geneva and was confirmed by the Libyan parliament on March 10. Egypt and the UAE are main backers of Khalifa Haftar, the eastern-based Libyan military commander who has tried to wrest the capital Tripoli from the previous government.

In April, Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly traveled to Libya. He held talks with interim prime minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah in a new sign of the escalating relationship between Cairo and Tripoli.

Dbeibah visited Egypt in February on her first official trip abroad after her election. In April, Dbeibah also paid a visit to Abu Dhabi and was warmly welcomed by Sheikh Mohammed, who expressed support for the new Libyan government.