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Egypt extends conflict with Turkey to African Sahel

January 16, 2021 at 2:14 pm

President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) and President of Mauritania Mohammad Veled Abdulaziz (R) hold a joint press conference in Mauritania on 28 February 2018 [Raşit Aydoğan/Anadolu Agency]

Cairo has made its conflict against Ankara a foreign policy priority, rendering all regions a potential battleground, even the African Sahel region, which has generally been excluded from the focus of the Egyptian state.

The Intelligence Online website added that after Libya and the Eastern Mediterranean, Egypt is now doing its best to confront the escalating Turkish influence in the Sahel region.

Earlier this month, Cairo decided to boost the presence of its peacekeeping unit within the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), in addition to providing practical training to the forces of the Group of Five for the Sahel Joint Force (G5 Sahel), which includes Mauritania, Chad, Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger.

In addition to its efforts to contribute to stability in the region, Egypt is openly attempting to counter Turkey’s endeavour to strengthen its presence, particularly at the economic level.

Accordingly, the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has sent envoys to the Sahel region from the Cairo International Centre for Conflict Resolution, Peacekeeping, and Peacebuilding (CCCPA).

READ: Turkey to pledge millions to aid Sahel force against militants

The CCCPA was established in 1994 and aims to promote Egyptian foreign policy interests in Africa and the Middle East. The centre is headed by the Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry and operates in coordination with the Ministries of Interior and Defence as well as the intelligence services such as the General Intelligence Directorate, headed by Abbas Kamel, which plays a direct role in implementing Egyptian foreign policy priorities.

In a telephone conversation with the Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani on 14 December, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi discussed Turkey’s presence in Africa.