Egypt, Saudi Arabia foreign ministers to hold political consultations in Cairo

Ahram Online , Saturday 1 Apr 2017

Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi met with Saudi’s King Salman last week on the sidelines of the Arab League Summit in Jordan, the leaders exchanging invitations to visit one another's countries

File Photo: Egypt's foreign minister Sameh Shoukry (Photo: AFP)

The Egyptian and Saudi ministers of foreign affairs agreed in a phone call Friday night to hold “a round of political consultations,” soon in Cairo to discuss regional and international issues ahead of countries’ two leaders exchanging diplomatic visits, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement issued Saturday read.

Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi met with Saudi’s King Salman last week on the sidelines of the Arab League Summit in Jordan.

The two leaders exchanged invitations to visit one another's countries and affirmed the need to "bolster their relationship in all fields in a way that reflects the historical ties [between Egypt and Saudi Arabia]."

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry followed up with his Saudi Counterpart Adel Al-Jubeir on the two leaders’ last meeting as well as other aspects of the two countries' relationship, the statement added.

El-Sisi and Salman met in April 2016 during a visit by Salman to Cairo, during which they agreed on the transfer to Saudi Arabia of two Red Sea islands under Egyptian control.

In January, an Egyptian court struck down the controversial deal to transfer the islands, with the backlash within Egypt against the agreement reportedly causing tension between the two countries.

Some reports have suggested that the two countries have also quarrelled over differing positions on the Syrian civil war.

However, officials from both countries have repeatedly emphasised close ties between Egypt and Saudi Arabia, denying the existence of tensions or disagreements.

There has been speculation that the alleged row over Syria stems from Riyadh's conviction that Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad must be removed to put an end to the country's six-year civil war, while Cairo advocates a political solution that denies Islamist militants any future role in Syria.

Saudi Arabia was one of several Gulf countries that provided the government of Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi with billions of dollars in aid shortly after El-Sisi's election in 2014.

The kingdom has also contributed with investments and currency deposits to prop up Egypt’s ailing economy, but suspended petroleum supplies in September amid growing differences. In March, Saudi Arabian state oil company Aramco resumed oil product shipments to Egypt.

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