Prince Mohammed’s visit set to deepen Saudi-Egypt ties, open up new vistas of relations

Special For decades, Egyptian and Saudi leadership have collaborated on vital international affairs, such as peace in Palestine and supporting youth. (AFP)
For decades, Egyptian and Saudi leadership have collaborated on vital international affairs, such as peace in Palestine and supporting youth. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 21 June 2022

Prince Mohammed’s visit set to deepen Saudi-Egypt ties, open up new vistas of relations

Prince Mohammed’s visit set to deepen Saudi-Egypt ties, open up new vistas of relations
  • Strong Egyptian-Saudi ties have symbolic and practical significance for the Arab world
  • Visit to forge partnerships and cement economic relations between the two countries

JEDDAH: For decades, Saudi Arabia and Egypt have enjoyed a distinguished relationship. Considered twin pillars, the two nations have consolidated their alliance and cooperation to strengthen their individual and joint regional postures, continuing a tradition of deep-rooted historical ties solidified even further with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s arrival in Cairo on Monday.

Strong Egyptian-Saudi ties have symbolic and practical significance for the Arab world. The two nations have historically regarded one another as important allies to the region, a policy that goes back to May 7, 1936, when Egypt officially recognizing the Saudi state.

The two nations have grown stronger and established close diplomatic ties over the years, overcoming obstacles and differences even during turbulent periods. 

From 1945-46, official state visits by King Abdul Aziz and King Farouk addressed regional concerns, security and stability, topics on the forefront of both state leaders’ agendas, most notably the Palestinian crisis, Syria and Lebanon, the emergence of an Israeli state and strengthening relations between Arab nations with joint interests and benefits.

On March 22, 1945, the Arab League was formed. The voluntary association of Arab states was co-founded by Saudi Arabia and Egypt alongside Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria with its main aims to strengthen relations, coordinate collaboration, safeguard members’ independence and sovereignty, and to provide collective consideration of their affairs and interests. 

Sixteen Arab nations have since joined, and the 22 Arab states follow one unified ethos, “one language, one civilization: 22 Arab countries.”

The Middle East saw serious political turmoils in the 1950s and 60s. The region witnessed the fall of several monarchies, two major wars with Israel, growing concerns of continued tensions and growing ideological divides that threatened the unity of Arab nations. Saudi Arabia and Egypt’s cordial relations were defined by the times. 

King Faisal made his first official visit on Sept. 8, 1965 and the monarch visited Egypt seven times during his rule. As Saudi Arabia was uniquely situated to assume a leadership position in the Muslim world, so too was Egypt in building its military power.

Opinion

This section contains relevant reference points, placed in (Opinion field)

In 1973, Egypt’s Anwar Sadat supported King Faisal’s oil embargo in protest against the West’s support for Israel during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, also known as the Ramadan War. King Faisal in return supported the coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria during and after the war. 

In 1974, King Faisal’s visit further cemented the neighboring states’ relations, touring several cities with thousands of Egyptians flocking to the streets to greet him. Similarly, King Fahad and President Hosni Mubarak saw a prosperous budding relationship that lasted for over two decades. The Saudi king visited Egypt numerous times and it was in 1990 that the unwavering support of Egypt proved essential during an emergency Arab League Summit, led by Mubarak to determine the unified commitment of all members of the league to free Kuwait from Iraqi occupation.




The historic ties between the two Red Sea nations of Saudi Arabia and Egypt continue to prosper with the crown prince’s Cairo visit. (AFP/File Photo)

The duo would subsequently agree on a multitude of issues, especially on the Palestinian crisis that reached a boiling point in 2000 when another call for an emergency league summit was led by Egypt for a unified stance on Israeli-Palestinian violence. 

It the first summit for Arab leaders in four years. Egypt, a key negotiator with Israel, reminded its fellow members of their duty “to attempt once again to salvage the peace process.”

Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah called on leaders to donate $1billion to support the Palestinian uprising and fund projects on Palestinian land. Saudi Arabia would contribute to 25 percent of the support.

King Abdullah continued Saudi Arabia’s strong relationship with Egypt, amid growing interests shared by the the two Red Sea neighbors over maritime security, tourism and development, without the usual competition for power and influence.

His first visit as head of state was to Sharm El-Sheikh in 2008, during which he focused on the conflict in Iraq and the growing threat from Iran’s nuclear program. 




King Faisal (R) of Saudi Arabia, then foreign minister, Egyptian foreign minister Mahmud Fawzi (1952-58) (2nd R) and Syrian prime minister Fares Al-Khoury (3rd R) with other Arab representatives during an Arab League meeting in Cairo in the early 1950s. (AFP/File Photo)

The Arab Spring and its disastrous consequences did not hinder the two nations’ relations. After the ousting of Mubarak and following the brief, turbulent leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood, the two nations assumed their strong friendship with President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi took power in 2013.

El-Sisi, has been regarded a vital friend to Riyadh, and the representative of an Egyptian state supportive of the regional status quo.

The bilateral relationship has strengthened substantially since then, with Saudi-Egyptian relations increasingly shaped by growing economic ties and joint development projects, enhanced by infrastructure and an investment-friendly climate. 

Over the past four decades, Saudi Arabia and Egypt have established strong economic, social, humanitarian and cultural ties. The Kingdom provides many opportunities for Egyptian labor through legal work visas, and according to Egypt’s Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics, 1.8 million Egyptians reside in the Kingdom.

In 2016, King Salman addressed the Parliament of Egypt, and urged unity and alliance. He was the first Arab leader to give such address in Cairo, and the visit also witnessed the signing of 21 agreements and investment memorandums of understanding between the two countries. 

He was named the “great guest” of Egypt, and was granted the Order of the Nile, the country’s highest state honor.




A fan gestures before the Russia 2018 World Cup Group A football match between Saudi Arabia and Egypt at the Volgograd Arena in Volgograd on June 25, 2018. (AFP/File Photo)

“This visit comes as a confirmation of the pledges of brotherhood and solidarity before the two brotherly countries,” El-Sisi said in a televised speech.

An Egyptian-Saudi investment fund was also set up, with a total of $16 billion pumped into Saudi investment projects in several Egyptian governorates. There are approximately 2,900 Saudi projects in Egypt and 1,300 Egyptian projects in Saudi Arabia. The total Saudi investments in Egypt are worth up to $27 billion.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has made several visits to Cairo since 2017, highlighting the alliance between the two nations, and a flurry of bilateral agreements and investment project deals have been signed since.

As of 2018, the Kingdom became the second-largest foreign investor, accounting for 11 percent of total foreign investments in Egypt, the volume of which exceeded $6 billion. A $10n billion deal was signed in March of that same year, as Egypt agreed to develop land south of the Sinai to be part of NEOM. 

Egypt’s most critical Saudi investments are in the service sector, including energy, transport, logistics, health, and education. 

The latest support package came just last March, when Saudi Arabia announced a $5 billion aid package deposited in the Central Bank of Egypt.


KSrelief’s supervisor general meets Ukrainian refugees in Warsaw, pledges $10m aid

KSrelief’s supervisor general meets Ukrainian refugees in Warsaw, pledges $10m aid
Updated 7 sec ago

KSrelief’s supervisor general meets Ukrainian refugees in Warsaw, pledges $10m aid

KSrelief’s supervisor general meets Ukrainian refugees in Warsaw, pledges $10m aid

Abdullah Al Rabeeah, advisor to the Royal Court and supervisor general of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSrelief), met with Ukrainian refugees in Warsaw on Wednesday, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported. 

During the visit Al Rabeeah said the charity would be providing $10 million in emergency health and shelter funds. 

This came during his visit to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Cash Enrolment Centre in Warsaw. 

The KSrelief Supervisor General was briefed on the Cash Enrolment Centre work mechanism and the services provided to meet the urgent material needs of Ukrainian refugees. 

He also praised the efforts of UNHCR in supporting and alleviating the suffering of refugees and internally displaced people.


Bahrain tourism minister discusses opportunities in Saudi Arabia with officials

Bahrain tourism minister discusses opportunities in Saudi Arabia with officials
Updated 11 August 2022

Bahrain tourism minister discusses opportunities in Saudi Arabia with officials

Bahrain tourism minister discusses opportunities in Saudi Arabia with officials
  • Both officials agreed to explore investment opportunities in the tourism sector in both countries

RIYADH: Bahrain’s tourism minister discussed expanding cooperation with Saudi Arabia in the tourism sector during an official visit to the Kingdom, Bahrain News Agency (BNA) reported.

Fatima Jaafar Al-Sairafi met with Qusai bin Abdulla Al-Fakhri, CEO of Saudi Tourism Development Fund, in Riyadh where both reviewed ways to create diverse business opportunities in the tourism sector and promote sustainability in line with international developments.

“They agreed to explore the future prospects of tourism projects undertaken by the private sector in both countries, in addition to tapping into investment opportunities in this vital sector,” the BNA statement read.

The officials praised the deep-rooted historic relations between both kingdoms, highlighting efforts to strengthen the steadily growing ties.
Al-Sairafi highlighted Bahrain’s 2022-2025 tourism strategy, which aims to increase cooperation with other countries to boost investment in tourism infrastructure.


Saudi charity KSrelief launches medical program combatting blindness in Bangladesh

Saudi charity KSrelief launches medical program combatting blindness in Bangladesh
Updated 11 August 2022

Saudi charity KSrelief launches medical program combatting blindness in Bangladesh

Saudi charity KSrelief launches medical program combatting blindness in Bangladesh
  • Thousands of people were examined in the new scheme

RIYADH: A new scheme combatting blindness and its causes in Bangladesh was launched on Monday by the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief).

The KSrelief voluntary medical team examined 6,600 cases, and performed 150 successful cataract procedures.
This latest scheme serves as an extension of projects combating blindness by the Saudi charity, for families with low incomes in a number of countries.


4,291 Saudi health security trainees graduate   

4,291 Saudi health security trainees graduate   
Updated 11 August 2022

4,291 Saudi health security trainees graduate   

4,291 Saudi health security trainees graduate   

RIYADH: A fourth group of health security trainees graduated from the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties in a virtual ceremony on Wednesday. 

A total of 4,291 male and female graduates will join the job market. 

Dr. Aws Al-Shamsan, secretary-general of the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties, said that health security plays an important role in improving healthcare services.

The program includes practical and theoretical training for three months, in addition to two weeks of field training in one of the health sectors, allowing trainees to benefit from hands-on experience.

Health security graduates receive a diploma allowing them to work in the Kingdom’s health sector.


Umbrellas raise Makkah pilgrims’ spirits

Umbrellas raise Makkah pilgrims’ spirits
Updated 11 August 2022

Umbrellas raise Makkah pilgrims’ spirits

Umbrellas raise Makkah pilgrims’ spirits

JEDDAH: Pilgrims sheltering from heavy rain in Makkah on Tuesday received a helping hand when the General Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques handed out umbrellas to visitors at the Grand Mosque.

Khaled bin Fahd Al-Shalwi, assistant for the general president for social, voluntary and humanitarian services agency, said that the “Umbrella of Mu’tamer” initiative is part of a range of services designed to help visitors perform their rituals. 

Programs and services come under the direction of the President for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, Abdulrahman Al-Sudais, who strives to provide a safe environment to allow visitors to the Grand Mosque to complete their rituals with ease, he added. 

According to the presidency’s website, the presidency has also employed more than 200 supervisors, 4,000 female and male workers, and utilized more than 500 items of equipment to deal with the rain at the Grand Mosque through its environmental protection agency. 

Ahmed bin Omar Bilaamash, assistant to the general president for services and achievement of the environmental protection agency, said that prayer areas, entrances and exits, and the mataf — the circumambulation space around the Kaaba — are equipped to handle the rainfall.