Egypt, Saudi mull joint exercise amid Yemen air war

CAIRO (AFP) - Egypt and Saudi Arabia are considering holding joint military manoeuvres in the kingdom as the allies carry out air strikes in its neighbour Yemen, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's office said.

Other Gulf Arab countries would also participate, the Egyptian president's office said late Tuesday.

"It was decided to form a joint military committee to look into a large-scale strategic manoeuvre on Saudi territory," said the statement issued after Mr Sisi met Saudi Defence Minister Prince Mohamed bin Salman.

It gave no further details, but a security official said such joint manoeuvres were the "highest level of training exercises." The Egyptian navy and air force are participating in the Saudi-led campaign against Iran-backed rebels in Yemen, and Cairo has pledged ground forces if needed.

Mr Sisi, who has relied on Gulf Arab largesse to keep the Egyptian economy afloat, has pledged to defend those states which fear Iranian influence.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in particular threw their support behind Sisi, when as army chief he overthrew Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

Mr Sisi was the key proponent of a joint Arab military force endorsed by the Arab League in March.