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February 19, 2016

Egypt will not participate in ground invasion of Syria, Egypt's the Daily News

(Cairo, Feb 18, 2016) Shoukry described Munich agreement as "starting point" to push towards a permanent solution in Syria

Egyptian minister of foreign affairs Sameh Shoukry said the military option will not result in any solutions in or for Syria.

When asked whether Egypt supports the Saudi suggestion to send ground troops to Syria, in an interview with German Deutsche Welle TV, Shoukry said the best way to achieve stability and unity in Syria would be to work through the UN and its envoy to reach an agreement.

Earlier in February, Saudi Arabia said it is prepared to participate in a ground operation against the “Islamic State” (IS) in Syria, led by the US. This was welcomed by the US even though the launch was not yet decided. Bahrain said it is also ready to join in such an operation.

Saudi Arabia confirmed Saturday that it sent military jets to the Turkish Incirlik military base to fight IS in Syria. Saudi Army spokesperson Brigadier General Ahmed Asiri told Al-Arabiya TV that Saudi Arabia has vowed to fight IS and that this step comes as part of its efforts.

Asiri confirmed that the current Saudi presence in Incirlik is limited to jets. “What exist now are military air jets belonging to the Saudi air force, aiming to intensify the airstrikes,” he said. Saudi Arabia has begun participating in air raids against IS, a move that was welcomed by the US.

Regarding Egypt’s participation in counter-terrorism efforts, Shoukry said the Egyptian perspective on addressing terrorism worldwide would be a comprehensive approach without focusing on only one group.

“You can’t just target one terror group and leave the others, due to the tactical link between them,” said Shoukry in his interview with DW. It is crucial to address the political and social aspects of aiding and abetting of terrorism, as well as its expansion.

He said the Munich agreement on Syria is promising since it addresses the humanitarian aspects, describing it as a “starting point” to push toward a permanent solution.

World powers agreed Friday on a plan to a ceasefire in Syria but Russia expected that its practical application will be difficult.

Regarding reports about western intervention in Libya, Shoukry said the neighbouring countries are consulting with the west to plan for political and military solutions in order to address this crisis.

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