Saudi General ‘Asiri’ says Al-Sisi offered sending ground troops to Yemen at the beginning of operations

In a televised interview on al-Arabiya Saudi TV Channel, Brig.General.Ahmed Asiri, Saudi Defense Minister’s adviser and spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition, said Egypt had previously offered to send 40,000 soldiers to Yemen for protecting the Saudi-Yemeni border.

Asiri said, “Abdel Fattah al-Sisi offered the Saudi government and the coalition to send ground troops to Yemen but the coalition policy in Yemen does not allow the presence of any foreign ground troops on the Yemeni territory.”

He also commented on the number of the Egyptian forces participating in the Arab coalition supporting legitimacy in Yemen saying, “the Egyptian army currently cooperates in the naval and air efforts, but what we were talking about happened earlier (at the beginning of operations) was the participation of almost 30,000 to 40,000 Egyptian soldiers as ground troops.”

It is worth to mention that Egypt has always denied any participation in ground troops in the Saudi-led coalition, confirming that its participation is limited to the naval and air forces only.

During the seven-hour meeting with the editors-in-chief of state-owned newspapers in 2016, al-Sisi said, “We have Air Force elements in Saudi Arabia, but we do not have any ground forces in any Arab country. All of our forces abroad work within the framework of the United Nations peacekeeping forces.”

Egypt’s air force has been participating in the Saudi-led military coalition against Houthi rebels in Yemen since the coalition was launched in March 2015, according to Al-Ahram (state-owned newspaper).

Last January, Egypt’s National Defense Council agreed in a meeting to extend the deployment of Egyptian Armed Forces units in the Red Sea and the Bab Al-Mandab strait.

The meeting was headed by Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi and attended by the ministers of defense, finance, foreign affairs and interior, as well as commanders of Egypt’s Armed Forces along with the chiefs of intelligence agencies.

The meeting approved extending the mission of the Egyptian Armed Force units on a foreign assignment to defend the country’s national security in the Red Sea and the Bab Al-Mandab strait.