Sisi discusses 'bilateral relations, int'l crises' with Saudi king, crown prince in Riyadh

Ahram Online , Tuesday 8 Mar 2022

Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi El-Sisi was received by Crown Prince Mohamemed Bin Salman at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh in the start of official visit to discuss bilateral relations and international crises with King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and the crown prince .

Saudi King Salman bin Abdel Aziz Al Saud, receives Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi in Riyadh
Saudi King Salman bin Abdel Aziz Al Saud, receives Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi in Riyadh - SPA

Presidential Spokesman Bassam Rady said the president will consult and coordinate with the king and crown prince on bilateral relations as well as regional and international issues and crises, which require concerted efforts to protect Arab national security.

“This visit comes within the framework of the deep Egyptian-Saudi relations and the brotherly ties and cooperation at all levels between the two sisterly countries,” the spokesman said.

El-Sisi’s visit to Saudi Arabia, the world's largest producer of crude oil, comes while the ongoing two-week-old Russian invasion of Ukraine is threatening to severely impact the global economy, with oil and gas prices already soaring.



Close relationship

Egypt and Saudi Arabia have closely coordinated on regional and international issues since El-Sisi took office in 2014, with the two sides regularly holding top-level meetings.

El-Sisi last visited Saudi Arabia in May 2019, where he took part in an emergency Arab Summit in Mecca after attacks by the Houthi militia in Yemen including on Saudi oil tankers off the UAE coast earlier in the same month.

Egypt has strongly condemn scores of attacks launched by the Houthi militia from Yemen against Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia also repeatedly voiced support to Egypt’s water rights amid a dispute between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) the latter is building on the Blue Nile.

Egypt and Saudi Arabia also held several joint military drills over the past years, and the Arab Organisation for Industrialisation (AOI) is currently taking part in the first edition of the World Defence Show (WDS) held in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, from 6 to 9 March.


Economic, development cooperation

Egypt and Saudi Arabia are bound by solid economic and investment partnerships, with both sides has signed many MoUs on digital transformation over the past years, the last of which was earlier in March.

In December, they signed an MoU on fostering international cooperation to combat corruption and exchanging expertise and information on corruption crimes.

In October, Egypt and Saudi Arabia awarded contracts for the implementation of a project to link their power grids and allow the exchange of up to 3,000 MW of electricity at a value of $1.8 billion.

In light of the two countries’ ambitions to expand reliance on renewable energy, this linkage will constitute a safety valve for their two power grids to tackle the general unstable nature of renewable energy, Saudi Electricity Minister Abdulaziz bin Salman said.

Last July, El-Sisi received Saudi Minister of Commerce of Saudi Arabia Majid bin Abdullah Al-Kassabi, where they discussed promoting intra-trade and boosting joint investments between the two countries in various development fields.

El-Sisi also stressed the importance of boosting coordination and overcoming obstacles facing mutual investments carried out by the public and private sectors of both countries as he met with Turki Al-Sheikh, adviser at the Saudi Royal Court and chairman of the General Authority for Entertainment in May last year.

During Bin Salman’s visit to Cairo in March 2018, Egypt and Saudi Arabia announced launching a joint fund worth $10 billion to develop a megacity in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. Both countries have committed around 1,000 kilometres of land to the project.

This is part of the kingdom’s mammoth $500 billion project to develop the futuristic city of Neom, which will cover thousands of square miles of Saudi Arabia's Tabuk province.

El-Sisi and Saudi King witnessed in April 2016 the signing of numerous agreements, MoUs, and cooperation programs worth $590 million, according to Egypt’s international cooperation ministry.

The agreements covered various fields, including electricity and development in Sinai.

Largest trade partner

Saudi Arabia is the biggest trade partner of Egypt in the Middle East, with the trade exchange between both countries in 2021 recorded 4.3 billion dollars against 3.2 billion dollars in 2020, Egyptian state’s news agency MENA reported on Tuesday, citing a report by the Egyptian Ministry of Trade.

The report, which MENA received, showed that Egyptian exports to the Saudi market witnessed a 17 percent increase in 2021 recording 1.995 billion dollars compared to 1.699 billion in 2020.

Building materials, engineering commodities, electronics, food industries, agricultural products, medical industries, ready-made clothes and furniture are among the most prominent Egyptian products exported to the Saudi market.

Both countries have strong historical and strategic relations, member of the Egyptian side of the Egyptian-Saudi Business Council Fatahallah Fawzy told MENA, adding that Saudi Arabia is the second Arab investor in Egypt.

There are promising opportunities for the Egyptian companies to cooperate with their Saudi counterparts in the different domains especially the field of building, construction, real-estate development and tourism, he said.

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