Sisi and Erdogan to visit Saudi Arabia amid talk of reconciliation #EgyptTurmoil Commentators have speculated King Salman could mediate in a long-running dispute between the Turkish and Egyptian presidents
Middle East Eye, 27 February 2015
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi will travel to Saudi Arabia on Sunday for an official visit, his first to the kingdom since King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud ascended to the throne in January.
In a statement the Egyptian presidency said Sisi will meet with King Salman as well as Crown Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz and Deputy Crown Prince Mohamed bin Nayef.
The announcement did not reveal the length of the visit but did reveal talks will be focussing on increasing political and economic ties between the two countries and also cover regional developments with a focus on the turmoil in Yemen.
Saudi Arabia under the late King Abdullah supported former army chief in his 2013 popularly backed military coup that unseated democratically elected Mohammed Morsi from power. The oil-rich Gulf state subsequently provided billions of dollars in aid to prop up an ailing Egyptian economy.
However, since the ascension of King Salman, relations between Riyadh and Cairo have seemingly become fraught.
When Sisi travels to Saudi Arabia on Sunday his visit will coincide with a four-day stopover being made by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is in the kingdom to discuss “strategic relations” with Salman.
Erdogan’s presence in Saudi Arabia at the same time as Sisi has led to some commentators speculating Salman could mediate between the Egyptian and Turkish leaders, who are strident political opponents.
Turkish officials told news outlet, Arab 21, that Erdogan and Sisi would not meet next week despite the two leaders being in Riyadh at the same time.
Commenting on the Sisi and Erdogan visit to Saudi Arabia in an interview on Mustaqilla TV, Dr, Wafik Moustafa, Chairman of the British Arab Network, said:
” I am delighted that President Erdogan is visiting Saudi Arabia and meeting with the wise and pragmatic King Salman. Turkey and Saudi Arabia are two regional powers and they have some common foreign policy objectives. For example to remove the Assad regime. It is a great opportunity for the two leaders to forge stronger ties to bring greater security, stability and prosperity for their countries and the region. The fact that President Sisi will be in Saudi Arabia at the same time as President Erdogan means it is a great opportunity for mediation by King Salman in the long running dispute between the two leaders. I welcome any mediation by the King as dialogue and reconciliation would benefit the two leaders and their countries at a time of such political turmoil in the Middle East.”