JEDDAH: When Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrives in Cairo on Monday, he will be continuing a tradition of deep-rooted historical relations that span several decades, dating back to the days of Saudi Arabia’s founder, King Abdul Aziz.
The prosperous relationship was etched in stone on Jan. 10, 1946, which marked the first official visit to Egypt by King Abdul Aziz.
The only other time he left the Arabian Peninsula was to visit US President Franklin D. Roosevelt aboard the USS Quincy in the Suez Canal.
Egypt’s King Farouk sent his royal yacht, El-Mahroosa, to pick up King Abdul Aziz in Jeddah.
After welcoming him in Suez, they boarded a royal train toward Cairo, where they held talks in Abdeen Palace.
Over the years, the ties between Saudi Arabia and Egypt were defined by the times.
Saudi King Faisal’s rule was one of tenacity and craft. He was a prime supporter of Egypt and its people, and visited the country seven times during his rule, starting with his first official visit on Sept. 8, 1965.
Egypt supported King Faisal’s oil embargo in protest against Western support for Israel during the 1973 Arab-Israeli War.
The resulting oil crisis helped undeveloped oil-rich states flourish and boosted their social development plans.
King Faisal’s eight-day visit to Cairo in 1974 cemented future Saudi-Egyptian relations. He toured several cities, with thousands of Egyptians coming out to greet him.
Saudi King Fahd made three trips to Egypt during his rule, the most important one on Aug. 9, 1990, after Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait.
The emergency Arab League Summit was crucial as it determined the unified commitment to free Kuwait from Iraqi occupation.
King Abdullah continued Saudi Arabia’s strong relationship with Egypt. His first visit as king was to Sharm El-Sheikh in 2008, during which he focused on regional issues, including the conflict in Iraq and the threat from Iran’s nuclear program.
His second visit, in 2014, although short, was vital in showing Saudi support for the Egyptian government of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi following the overthrow of his predecessor Mohamed Morsi in 2013.
King Salman’s official visit in 2016 consolidated the two nations’ historical ties. He was named the “Great Guest of Egypt in Cairo,” and was granted the Collar of the Nile, the country’s highest state honor.
The five-day visit resulted in the signing of 17 agreements, many of them aimed at boosting commerce and trade.
They included cooperation on peaceful nuclear energy, the development of King Salman University in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, and the building of a bridge connecting the two countries. Nothing could be more representative of the bilateral relationship than that.