Saudi king on his first visit to Cairo
Saudi Arabia is set to sign a $20 billion deal to finance Egypt’s petroleum needs for the next five years
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi welcomed Saudi King Salman after the latter arrived in Cairo on Thursday in his first visit to Egypt since his inauguration as king in early 2015.
On Wednesday, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry emphasized the importance of King Salman’s visit to Cairo and spoke of the “special relationship” between the two countries in an interview with Al Arabiya News Channel.
The rare foreign trip by the Saudi king will counter media commentary in both countries of discord between the richest Arab state and the most populous, to show Riyadh still backs Sisi.
“The Saudis are very keen not to allow Egypt to collapse, but at the same time the Saudis cannot pay forever. I think King Salman will try to explain these issues,” said Mustafa Alani, a security analyst with close ties to the kingdom’s Interior Ministry.
Saudi Arabia is set to sign a $20 billion deal to finance Egypt’s petroleum needs for the next five years and a $1.5 billion deal to develop its Sinai region.
"This is the first official visit by King Salman, whose valuable and honourable positions in support of Egypt and its people will never be forgotten," the presidency said in a statement.
"Egypt accords great importance to this visit," it said, adding the leaders would discuss regional issues and economic cooperation during Salman's five-day visit.
Yet, Yahya al-Amir Saudi writer and journalist speaking to Al Arabiya News, predicts that the economic aspect will not be the main focus of King Salman’s trip to Cairo.
“I predict that the visit will mainly focus on the political and security issues facing the region,” said Amir.
Salman is expected to address the Egyptian parliament on Sunday, state media reported.
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