Egypt pulls out of US-led ‘Arab NATO’ initiative – Report

Sputnik – The news comes just one day after the Egyptian president’s visit to the White House.

Egypt has decided to withdraw from US-led initiative to create a strategic alliance with key Arab allies, known as Middle East Security Alliance (MESA), Reuters reported Wednesday, citing sources familiar with the matter.

Also known as “Arab NATO,” the alliance is supposed to include Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, and Qatar. Cairo, however, has reportedly decided to pull out from the group over fears of damaging its relations with Iran, the sources said.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo answers a question during a news conference on Tuesday, March 26, 2019, at the Department of State in Washington.

Additionally, the sources said Egyptian authorities were partially motivated by uncertainty over President Trump’s re-election and whether his successor would scrap the entire initiative — just like Trump himself scrapped the Iranian Nuclear Deal.

Cairo’s decision is believed to have inflicted a blow on Trump’s strategy of curbing Iranian influence in the region, Reuters report says.

The initiative, proposed by Saudi Arabia back in 2017 as a means to limit Russian and Chinese influence, was supported by US National Security Advisor John Bolton.

Interestingly, the report comes just one day after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi visited the White House, Reuters notes.