Saudi crown prince arrives in Egypt on first foreign tour

Cairo: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrived in Egypt’s capital Cairo on Sunday on his first public trip outside the kingdom since he has been named crown prince last year. Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi received the Saudi crown prince upon his arrival at Cairo International Airport, the Egyptian state TV reported.

The crown prince is scheduled to visit Britain and the US later in March, Xinhua reported. Riyadh is a close regional ally of Cairo and the kingdom led oil-rich Gulf states, excluding Qatar, to support Egypt with billions of dollars and tons of oil supplies to boost the Egyptian economy following the military ouster of former Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013 in response to mass protests.

Bin Salman’s visit to Cairo comes a day after Egypt’s top constitutional court invalidated a lower court ruling challenging Egypt’s transfer of two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia according to a maritime demarcation agreement.

The demarcation deal was signed during a rare visit of Saudi King Salman to Egypt in April 2016.

The state media said that Saturday’s constitutional court ruling annuls all previous lower court rulings related to the transfer of the two islands of Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia, whether they are for or against it.

In response to the Egyptians who opposed the deal, the Egyptian leadership repeatedly said that the two islands were originally Saudi but they were leased to Egypt in the 1950s.

Since he became crown prince last year, Bin Salman has launched a massive anti-corruption campaign.

With inputs from IANS