Egypt and Saudi Arabia signed 14 agreements valued at $7.7 billion in the fields of petroleum, renewable energy, green hydrogen, IT, e-commerce, pharmaceuticals, infrastructure and cyber security during Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s two-day visit to Cairo which concluded Tuesday.
The kingdom has already provided billions of dollars in financial aid to Egypt since President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi came to power. The new agreement comes as Egypt is facing economic challenges, including a hike in commodity and food prices due to the war in Ukraine and soaring energy costs.
A sharp dip in tourism because of the COVID pandemic also dealt a blow to Egypt’s.
In a meeting with Sisi, MBS emphasized the necessity of coordination and openness between Egypt and Saudi Arabia to face shared challenges together, according to the Egyptian newspaper, Al-Aharam.
The Egyptian president’s office said the two leaders also discussed their strategy against destabilizing interference in Arab countries’ internal affairs and the possibility of launching more joint projects.
Sisi and MBS are also set to meet next month in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, at the upcoming Gulf Cooperation Council +3 Summit between July 15-16. U.S. President Joe Biden is also expected to attend this summit, along with regional leaders of the GCC countries.
The Saudi crown prince arrived in Egypt on Monday night as a part of his first tour of the region outside the Gulf area in more than three years. MBS will also visit Jordan and Turkey. Prior to this important trip, ALL ARAB NEWS Editor-in-Chief Joel Rosenberg wrote that MBS’ trip to the region was likely planned to shore up Saudi Arabia’s regional alliances, and try to all get on the same page before Biden comes to town.
Even before Biden’s official itinerary was announced, Axios reported back in May that the United States is working on facilitating a deal that involved Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Israel. Such a deal, if reached, could be the first step on the path to Saudi-Israeli normalization of ties.
According to Israeli journalist Barak Ravid, the deal will include the transfer of two strategic islands in the Red Sea from Egyptian to Saudi sovereignty, islands of Tiran and Sanafir.
The report quoted sources, saying that the “arrangement could build trust between the parties and create an opening to warm relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia, which do not have official diplomatic relations.“