Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, accompanied by the Crown Prince of the UAE and the President of the Libyan Council Mohammed el-Menfi, inaugurated this Saturday the new naval base called "July 3".
The new Egyptian “July 3” naval base was inaugurated. This is a message from the President of Egypt Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who sought to mark the event. The participation of the (de facto) leader of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyane drew attention. Al Nahyan was the mainstay of al-Sisi's coup and a close ally of the West.
Indeed, the date of July 3 corresponds to that of the overthrow of former Egyptian President Morsi by al-Sisi. As well as the start of a wave of repression against his supporters in Egypt. The choice of the name of the base is therefore daring. And al-Sisi made sure to clarify his diplomatic positions during the inauguration ceremony.
Indeed, al-Sisi held a speech where he highlighted the conflict between him and Ethiopia, against a background of the Renaissance dam file (GERD). Previously, he attended a military parade with his two guests. During the inauguration, he exhibited the Mistral helicopter carriers acquired in France, alongside a new German submarine and two recently delivered Italian frigates.
On the one hand, these symbolic gestures reflect the new friendship between Europe and Egypt. On the other hand, it is a means of pressure in the GERD file. The UN Security Council will meet around this issue this week. And al Sisi said: "The negotiations should not go on indefinitely."
New article, Egyptian Navy opens new naval base near Libya. https://t.co/Ig8bXpTl2W
I think this is a strategic step. #Egypt's navy is one to watch, increasingly impressive equipment. Two helicopter carriers, numerous modern frigates and missile boats, submarines pic.twitter.com/KYR5Ovh4mt
— HI Sutton (@CovertShores) July 5, 2021
Al-Sisi threatens to break new deals with Turkey
The July 3 base, besides the etymology, extends to more than 10 km² and it is equipped with advanced equipment for military and commercial navigation. It is also found less than 130 kilometers from the Libyan border. Which would explain the presence of el-Menfi during the inauguration.
However, el-Menfi, who is also from eastern Libya, sends his own message by attending the ceremony. Egypt and the UAE have supported Marshal Khalifa Haftar since 2014. And although al-Sisi increasingly sided with the leaders of Tripolitania, his invitation from el-Menfi, instead of a representative of the government, is a threat to the UN.
Indeed, the UN must deliberate on the rise of the GERD crisis. And it seems that hesitation still remains despite the poor relationship between Addis Ababa and the international community. However, the UN also supports the Libyan government, as much as Turkey. A complex context that al-Sisi puts on the negotiating table, therefore.
More clearly, the Egyptian leader exposes the possibility that he will return to the appeasement of his relations with the UN and Turkey on the Libyan dossier. And through the presence of Al Nahyane, and the speech about GERD, he urges the UN to condemn the Ethiopian claims.
Then, the demonstration of the weapons bought from Europe is a subliminal message for Turkey. Cairo and Ankara have experienced tensions over maritime rights in the eastern Mediterranean. And despite the cautious resumption of relations between Turkey and Egypt, al-Sisi would be able to resume his pro-Haftar position in Libya, and oppose Turkish domination of gas fields in the Mediterranean.
“Honored to join w / the President of Egypt, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, US Ambassador to Egypt, Egyptian military leaders, & senior military & government officials from more than a dozen countries to celebrate the grand opening of the world's newest Naval Base in 🇪🇬 ”- VADM Cooper pic.twitter.com/ZkNYhE0aD3
— US Naval Forces Central Command/US 5th Fleet (@US5thFleet) July 5, 2021