December 13, 2018

Lebanon PM posts selfie with Saudi crown prince after strain

05 March 2018, 11:36 | Rodolfo Wallace

Sisi ratified the deal a year ago, and Egypt's top court annulled lower court rulings for and against the treaty on the eve of the crown prince's arrival.

Egypt eagerly joined Saudi Arabia and other Gulf allies last June in a trade and diplomatic boycott of Qatar, whose government and media it accuses of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, hundreds of whose members Cairo has imprisoned and sentenced to death.

Mohammed bin Salman arrived in Cairo earlier on Sunday in a three-day visit as the first destination of his first foreign tour since he was named crown prince a year ago and launched a massive anti-corruption campaign in the kingdom that purged political and economic elite.

In February, 14 global and Egyptian rights groups published a joint statement, accusing Sisi of having "trampled all over even the minimum requirements for free and fair elections".

Bin Salman's visit comes a day after Egypt's top constitutional court nullified a lower court ruling that challenges the country's transfer of two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia according to a maritime demarcation agreement.

The Saudi visit comes three weeks ahead of an election where former general Sisi is seeking a second term.

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"The meeting [also] covered ways to enhance economic and investment relations between both countries, especially in the field of tourism investment in Egypt's Red Sea region", the statement added.

The talks also tackled a range of current regional issues.

They also agreed on continuing to work together to counter regional interventions and attempts to sow division and rifts among the region's countries.

"His first trip as crown prince is symbolically a moment for the young Saudi ruler to try to put Riyadh's best foot forward on the world stage", Andrew Bowen, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, said.

After his visit to Egypt, Bin Salman will head to the United Kingdom on 7 March and to the United States on 19 March.

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