Challenges in the Arab region can only be overcome with Egypt and Saudi Arabia cooperating hand-in-hand, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi said Thursday.
Al-Sisi told graduating students of the Egyptian Military Academy at a ceremony also attended by Saudi Defence Minister Mohammed Bin Salman, who is visiting Cairo, that Egypt and Saudi Arabia are the “wings of Arab national security.”
He described Bin Salman’s presence at the ceremony as a “strong message” to Egypt and Saudi Arabia’s respective peoples, and to Gulf countries, that both governments enjoy close cooperation.
“You will not see us but together,” he said.
El-Sisi commented on “highly difficult regional circumstances,” saying they require “security vigilance and extra effort.”
Salman, who is also Saudi Arabia’s deputy crown prince and second deputy prime minister, is expected to sit with Al-Sisi and Egyptian top officials to discuss bilateral and regional relations.
Egypt and Saudi Arabia have been close allies since the ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.
Both Egypt and Saudi Arabia have denied reports of tensions between Cairo and Riyadh after the new Saudi monarch, King Salman Ibn Abdel Aziz, came to power. After the chief of the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, Khaled Meshal, visited the kingdom last week and met with King Salman, reports about rising tension between Cairo and Riyadh again surfaced.
Relations between Cairo and Hamas soured following Morsi’s ouster.
The oil-rich Saudi kingdom is allegedly making efforts to reduce tensions with Muslim Brotherhood allies. These efforts are reportedly being made to counter the influence of Iran, the kingdom’s arch rival in the region.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri met with his Saudi counterpart in Riyadh last week where both officials asserted continued cooperation between their governments.
Next week, US Secretary of State John Kerry will meet with Egyptian and Gulf leaders for talks on the recent nuclear deal with Iran in addition to developments in confronting Islamic State (IS) group militants in the region.
Kerry will visit Cairo Sunday before he heads the following day to Doha to meet with Gulf Cooperation Council leaders.
Al-Sisi also addressed local affairs in his speech to graduating military students.
He announced that the long-delayed Egyptian parliament will be elected before the end of 2015.
In March, the High Constitutional Court ruled that some articles in Egyptian elections legislation were unconstitutional, delaying the scheduled elections process.
The government has been delegated with amending the law in question and resubmitting it for approval.
Egypt has been without parliament since 2012. The president holds legislative powers until the election of a new House of Representatives.
Meanwhile, Al-Sisi also congratulated the students on graduation and joining Egypt’s police and military forces.
He added that the role of military graduates is not more important than graduates of civil studies, adding that “true development” requires science, technology and intellectual movements.
source: Ahram Online