WSJ: Egypt and Saudi Arabia come together ahead of Trump trip

Published: Updated:

The Wall Street Journal said in a report that Arab world’s most populous country and its economic powerhouse simply can’t afford not to get along with each other.

It added that Trump administration is pushing for a new coalition of moderate Arab states hostile to Iran and open to cooperation with Israel that would be anchored on an alliance between Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

It said that Trump is kicking off his first foreign trip as president with this weekend’s summit of Arab and Muslim nations convened by King Salman in Riyadh that will also be attended by Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi.

At a time when Syria, Libya, Yemen and Iraq are consumed by wars, a feud between Cairo and Riyadh was a luxury that neither country could permit, the newspaper quoted Nabil Fahmy, who served as Mr. Sisi’s foreign minister in 2013-14.

“There will be points of agreement and points of disagreement but we need to manage them on both sides,” said Mr. Fahmy, currently a professor at the American University in Cairo. “There is a threat of a breakup of the entire Arab nation-state system and that would have tremendous consequences. That’s a much larger threat than a difference of opinion on islands.”

The newspaper mentioned as well what it described as a “rare” Saudi Deputy Crown Prince’s TV interview.

During the interview Prince Mohammed bin Salman said he had no doubt that the island issue will be resolved in time for one of the kingdom’s major infrastructure projects—the King Salman Bridge that would link Egypt and Saudi Arabia via the disputed islands—to be started by 2020.

It is only Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood that are trying to provoke a quarrel between Cairo and Riyadh, he added. “Relations with deep roots do not get affected in any way whatsoever,” Prince Mohammed said. “In the history between Egypt and Saudi Arabia, the two countries have always stood with each other during all circumstances and during all times and this has not changed.”

Saudi-Egyptian business ties set to strengthen