Saudi Arabia’s King Salman discusses water security and defence with Egypt’s El Sisi

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman welcomed the Egyptian President to Riyadh as Falcon stunt planes flew overhead on Tuesday afternoon

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El Sisi arrived in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, where he was welcomed by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and discussed regional security with King Salman.

The Saudi Falcons Royal Saudi Air Force aerobatic team staged a display, trailing smoke in the colours of the Egyptian flag, to welcome the Egyptian president to Riyadh.

Mr El Sisi met King Salman and reviewed bilateral relations and discuss regional and international issues, including the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the impact of Ethiopia’s construction of the Grand Renaissance Dam megaproject during his stay.

"The Saudi side affirmed its full support for Egyptian water security as an integral part of Arab water security, and urges Ethiopia to abandon its unilateral policy in connection with international rivers, and to abide by its commitments under international law, including the Declaration of Principles Agreement signed in 2015, which would not take any unilateral measures regarding the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam," a joint statement on the meeting released by the Saudi Press Agency read.

Saudi Arabia also urged Ethiopia to "co-operate in good faith with Egypt and Sudan" to reach a legally binding agreement on the Nile dam.

Egypt is concerned about the impact the Gerd will have on its share of vital water, as a downstream neighbour.

Prince Mohammed and Mr El Sisi later toured the Unesco Heritage Site Al Turaif in Diriyah in a golf cart, with the prince driving.

The ancient desert city on the outskirts of Riyadh was the original seat of power for the Al Saud family and served as the country's capital after 1727. Restoration work has been ongoing at the site since 2010.

Osama Nugali, Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Egypt, said the visit aims to help further strengthen their relations “in light of the brotherly ties that bring them together”. Saudi Arabia is the second-largest foreign investor in Egypt.

Shortly after Mr El Sisi’s arrival, Saudi Araba’s Council of Ministers agreed to establish a high-level financial dialogue with Egypt.

Trade between Saudi Arabia and Egypt over the last six years has grown to $47 billion and the volume of non-oil exports to Egypt grew 6.9 per cent last year to $1.9 billion, state-run SPA said.

Saudi Arabia’s Culture Ministry is seeking to build “artistic co-operation with Egypt,” especially on projects such as successfully putting forward the tradition of Arabic calligraphy for inclusion in Unesco’s list of cultural heritage, SPA added.

In 2019, Mr El Sisi visited Saudi Arabia at the invitation of King Salman to take part in an emergency Arab and Islamic States summit, after missile and drone attacks on the world's largest crude oil stabilisation plant. Crown Prince Mohammed last visited Egypt in 2018.

King Salman received a call from the Egyptian president last year to check on his health, SPA said. The Egyptian leader also congratulated King Salman on the kingdom's first Founding Day holiday on February 22.

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Updated: March 08, 2022, 6:15 PM
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