Saudi Crown Prince MBS visits Egypt at start of regional tour

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) has arrived in Cairo on the first leg of a Middle East tour that comes ahead of United States President Joe Biden’s trip to the region next month.Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi received MBS at the airport on Monday evening, a courtesy to the de facto Saudi leader, who is a steady financial backer of the Egyptian government.

Both leaders are scheduled to hold talks in the country’s presidential palace in Cairo on Tuesday. They will discuss “regional and wider international political affairs”, said Bassam Radi, a spokesman for el-Sisi.

The Saudi crown prince will then depart to Jordan for talks with its monarch, King Abdullah II, also a close ally of Saudi Arabia.

MBS is then scheduled to travel to Turkey to meet with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who visited Saudi Arabia in April for the first time in five years as the two countries repair ties. Saudi-Turkey relations frayed following the 2018 killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate.

Biden is scheduled to visit Saudi Arabia at the tail end of his July 13-16 Middle East trip that includes stops in Israel and the occupied West Bank. He will hold talks with the crown prince as part of an effort to reset US-Saudi ties.

The Biden administration could use help from the kingdom, which is one of the world’s biggest oil producers, to alleviate soaring prices at the pump for motorists at home and around the globe.

Egypt is the most populous country in the Arab world and Saudi Arabia one of the wealthiest. They tightened their longstanding alliance after el-Sisi, then the defence minister, led a military coup against President Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

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