CAIRO: Saudi King Salman completed a five-day visit to Egypt on Monday marked by lavish praise and billions of dollars in investment deals. This is a clear sign of support for President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s regime.
The 80-year-old monarch’s visit came when Riyadh wanted to strengthen ties with Cairo as it is embroiled in multiple conflicts in the Middle East and competing with Shiite Iran for regional supremacy.
In the past five days, King Salman and Sisi signed a series of billions of dollars worth of investment agreements that included a plan to build a bridge across the Red Sea between Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
Egypt also agreed to demarcate its maritime borders with Saudi Arabia by officially placing two islands on the Strait of Tiran in Saudi territory.
The deal sparked an immediate backlash in Egypt. Thousands of Twitter users accused Sisi of selling the islands. The islands were historically Saudi and were “leased” to Egypt in 1950.
The visit also underscores Saudi Arabia’s determined support for Egypt’s struggle against the jihadist Islamic state group.
Published in Dawn, April 12, 2016