Cii News &  Agencies |29 Jumadal Ukhra 1437/08 April 2016

Saudi King Salman arrived in Cairo on Thursday for a five-day visit aimed at solidifying ties with Egypt, ramping up unity in the Arab world and dealing with various regional security, political and economic challenges.

The king was welcomed at Al-Ittihadiyah Palace with a 21-round salute before talks began in earnest. His session of bilateral talks with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi focused on fraternal relations between the two countries and issues of common interest. Following it, El-Sisi held a luncheon banquet in honor of the king and his accompanying delegation.

Earlier, King Salman was welcomed at the Cairo airport by El-Sisi and top Egyptian officials. This is King Salman’s first visit since he ascended the throne in January 2015.
The Egyptian presidency said that the Kingdom’s support for Egypt would never be forgotten.

Alaa Youssef, the presidential spokesperson said Egypt’s leadership and people welcomed the much-anticipated visit of King Salman, which would further strengthen ties between the two nations.

He said talks between the two leaders would focus on regional security and political and economic issues, which include coordination to counter risks facing the two countries. Several agreements would be signed, he said.

Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir, described the visit as “historic.”

Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby said in a statement the visit would ensure closer ties between the two old allies.

King Salman is scheduled to visit the Egyptian House of Representatives and Cairo University. The university has decided to award King Salman an honorary doctorate in recognition of his unique role as a global figure who has had a profound and remarkable influence on the Arab world and on the international stage, said Jaber Nassar, rector of the university.

To mark the occasion, Egyptian magazine Al-Mosawer issued a documentary that highlighted the late King Abdul Aziz’s first visit to Egypt in 1945 when he met American President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The ministerial delegation accompanying the king included Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Ibrahim Al-Assaf, finance minister, Adel Al-Jubeir, foreign minister, Mufrej Al-Haqabani, labor minister and Sheikh Saleh Al-Sheikh, minister of Islamic affairs, endowments, call and guidance.

The Kingdom will likely sign a $20 billion agreement to finance Egypt’s petroleum needs for the next five years and a $1.5 billion deal to develop the Sinai region. Moreover, Saudi businessmen are investing $4 billion in energy and agriculture projects.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian regime’s Grand Mufti Shawki Allam said on Thursday that the visit of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman would ensure stronger ties between the two old allies, and help resolve the political and economic challenges facing the Arab world.

In a statement, Allam said the talks between King Salman and Egyptian President Abdul Fattah El-Sisi has come at an opportune time because it would allow the two leaders to discuss critical issues on the region’s stability and security, according to the Saudi Press Agency.

He said the two nations have always had close relations, which have stood in good stead in the fight against “terrorist” groups. There have also been several religious agreements signed between the two sides.

Allam praised Saudi Arabia for supporting the country, particularly after the June 30 revolution. This was in reference to the events in 2013 when orcestrated protests saw the overthrow of democratically elected Muhammad Mursi.

Egypt’s Endowments Minister Mohammed Mukhtar Jumma said the talks between the two countries would help foil plots against the Arabs because there would be further coordination on several fronts, the Saudi Press Agency reported him as saying in a statement.