On May 14, during negotiations between Russian and Egyptian foreign and defense ministers in the 2+2 format, Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry reasserted that Egypt would not send its troops to Syria to stabilize the situation, the Russian news agency TASS reported.
“Egypt has numerously stressed that it will not send its troops outside its territory as the Egyptian military doctrine stipulates that Egypt’s armed forces must defend only the borders. We discuss such issues only from the theoretical point of view as possible steps,” Shoukry said.
Russia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov pointed out that Moscow “appreciates the position assumed by Egypt”.
On May 4, a spokersman for the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ahmed Abu Zeid, stated that Shoukry’s earlier statements over the possibility of deploying Arab troops in Syria “did not pertain to Egypt”, according to Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram.
“Egypt does not send troops outside its territory unless it is in accordance with the constitution as well as legal and political mechanisms,” Ahmed Abu Zeid said.
These statements came amid rumors that Washington is planing to replace US troops in Syria by some Arab contingent.
On April 4, US Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS Brett H. McGurk noted that US officials had “to go to our coalition partners and remind them that their coalition has a big role to play” in bringing peace to the Middle East.
Washington has reportedly urged Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to devote funding for reconstruction efforts and contribute troops to a regional force focused on preventing the ISIS.
On April 17, Saudi Arabia declared its readiness to send troops into Syria as part of the US-led coalition if a decision had been taken to widen it.
On April 24, Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir issued a warning to Qatar, saying it should pay for the presence of US military forces in Syria.
On April 30, US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis opposed the US President Donald Trump decision over the withdrawal of US troops from Syria. Mattis stressed that Washington “do not want to simply pull out before the diplomats have won the peace”.
At the same time, Washington is constructing a major military installation in Deir Ez-Zor province, Iran’s Fars news agency reported on May 14 citing its sources.