Egypt on Wednesday emphasized its strategic alliance with GCC countries and said it considered the Arab identity of Gulf states a “red line” after they accused Iran of trying to destabilize Bahrain.
In a statement, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Nabil Al-Arabi said: “The stability and Arabhood of the GCC countries is a red line against which Egypt rejects any trespass.”
The statement was in response to a Gulf ministerial meeting on Monday that accused Iran of interfering in Bahrain and Kuwait in a bid to destabilize the region.
The government says 24 people including four policemen were killed in the crackdown, which according to the United Nations saw arbitrary arrests and killings and seizure of medical facilities.
Bahraini police have been reinforced with more than 1,000 armored troops from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, but the foreign forces have kept a low profile.
Arabi said that Gulf countries “succeeded in moving in a coordinated fashion to preserve the security of Bahrain, giving a practical application to the concept of collective security in the Gulf region.”
The minister, himself appointed to his post by virtue of a pro-democracy movement that toppled the former regime in February, also “welcomed the results of the latest ministerial meeting for the Gulf Cooperation Council.”
Egypt itself has had no formal diplomatic relations with Iran for decades but Arabi said earlier this week his country wished to improve ties with the Islamic republic.
Hassan Nafie, an Egyptian political analyst, said Arabi’s statement reiterated that Cairo’s relationship with Iran would not be at the expense of its stand with the GCC.
“There were calls in Egypt that the country should establish stronger relations with Iran without considering the viewpoints of GCC countries,” he pointed out. Arab News