Egypt withdraws from US-led anti-Iran 'Arab NATO': report

TEHRAN, Apr. 11 (MNA) – Egypt has pulled out of the US-led anti-Iran security initiative 'Arab NATO', in a blow to the Trump administration’s strategy to contain Iranian power.

Sources familiar with the decision have told Reuters that Egypt conveyed its decision to the United States and other participants in the proposed Middle East Security Alliance, or MESA, ahead of a meeting held Sunday in Riyadh, the Saudi capital.

Cairo did not send a delegation to the meeting, the latest gathering held to advance the US-led efforts to bind Sunni Muslim Arab allies into a security, political and economic pact to counter Iran. 

Egypt withdrew because it doubted the seriousness of the initiative, had yet to see a formal blueprint laying it out, and because of the danger that the plan would increase tensions with Iran, according to a source.

Uncertainty about whether US President Donald Trump will win a second term next year and whether a successor may ditch the initiative also contributed to the Egyptian decision.

The initiative, which Saudi Arabia first proposed in 2017, also is aimed at limiting the growing regional influence of Russia and China, according to a classified White House document reviewed by Reuters last year.

MNA/4587822

News Code 144004

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