Egypt’s army chief Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi lands in UAE for joint military exercises

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Egypt’s army chief Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan review the honor guard upon Sisi’s arrival to Abu Dhabi March 11, 2014. (Reuters)

Egypt’s army chief Field Marsha Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi arrived in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.

Sisi is scheduled to attend the conclusion of a joint military exercise (Zayed-1) held by the UAE and Egyptian Armed Forces. After his arrival in Abu Dhabi Sisi was met by UAE deputy army chief Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan.

The two men noted the “fraternal and solid relations linking the two countries and their peoples,” and their wish to “consolidate bilateral cooperation,” the WAM news agency reported, without giving details on Sisi’s plans or the length of his stay.

The Emirates have given Egypt $4.9 billion in financial aid since Mursi’s ouster, as well as deposited $2 billion in the Egyptian central bank, interest free.

Last week, the UAE joined Saudi Arabia and Bahrain in recalling their ambassadors from fellow Gulf Cooperation Council member Qatar over its support for Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood.

As a sign of support for the military-installed government in Cairo, the UAE’s Arabtec contractor signed a memorandum of understanding Sunday to develop a $40 billion project to build one million housing units in Egypt.

The signing came ahead of an expected announcement by Sisi that he will run in elections to replace Mursi, a vote he is widely expected to win.

Sisi has emerged as the most popular political figure in Egypt following Mursi’s troubled year-long rule, with many viewing him as a strong leader who can restore stability after three years of unrest unleashed by the 2011 revolt that toppled Hosni Mubarak.

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