Egypt’s foreign minister and Djibouti president talked about the security of Bab al-Mandeb, ahead of the forthcoming expansion of the Suez Canal, on Monday.
Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri met with and President Omar Guelleh in Djibouti and discussed Yemen, political and security developments in the Horn of Africa and the growing phenomenon of “terrorism” and “extremism,” the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. Bab al-Mandeb is located between Yemen and the Horn of Africa, where Djibouti lies and is a crucial strait since it is part of the route that connects the Indian Ocean with the Mediterranean Sea, through the Suez Canal.
This makes the strait strategic both for Egypt and for worldwide navigation.
Egypt is part of the Saudi-led coalition which launched military operations against the Houthis in Yemen on March 26, after the Shia rebel movement made advances onto the Yemeni south.
Egypt fears that potential Houthi control over Bab al-Mandeb, which lies between Yemen and the Horn of Africa, would affect navigation into the Suez Canal, a vital waterway for Egypt which brings in billions of dollars in annual revenues.
Egypt is currently constructing a mega project in the Suez Canal which will see the expansion the current waterway, digging a parallel canal as well as developing the canal region.
The talks between Shukri and Guelleh come shortly after talks between top defence officials from the two countries in April.
The Egyptian foreign minister is currently on two-stop tour, where he will also visit Uganda.