Saudi crown prince begins key trip to Egypt

Prince Mohammad expected to visit Coptic cathedral in Cairo

21:25 March 4, 2018
MBS with Al Sissi
MBS and Al Sissi

Cairo: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman arrived on Sunday evening in Egypt, marking his first foreign trip since he became the heir to the throne last June.

Egyptian President Abdul Fattah Al Sissi welcomed Mohammad at the Cairo airport before their talks on boosting ties between the two Arab countries.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sissi, left, greets Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman on his arrival to Cairo, Egypt, for a visit meant to deepen the alliance between two of the region's powerhouses, Sunday, March 4, 2018. Soon after the prince touched down in Cairo Sunday, Al-Sissi's office said "regional issues" and Egypt's fight against Islamic militants were discussed by phone with US President Donald Trump. - AP.

They were also to review the regional scene including a Saudi-led campaign against Iran-allied rebels in Yemen as well as coordination in the Egyptian-Saudi efforts against terrorism.

— وزارة الخارجية 🇸🇦 (@KSAMOFA) March 4, 2018

Visit to Coptic cathedral

During his three-day visit to Egypt, Salman is expected to visit the main Coptic cathedral in Cairo, the first by a senior Saudi official, according to sources in the Egyptian capital. 

He will meet there head of the Coptic Church Tawadros II.

In April 2017, King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz conferred with the Coptic pope at a Cairo hotel where the Saudi monarch was staying during an official visit to Egypt.

Al Azhar visit

The Saudi crown prince is due on Monday to visit Al Azhar, Sunni Islam’s prestigious centre of learning where he will meet with Grand Imam Ahmad Al Tayeb.

In the evening, Al Sissi and Mohammad will attend a show in the Cairo Opera House.

Egyptian officials said that the Saudi Crown Prince's choice of Egypt as the first leg of his maiden foreign tour reflects strong links between Cairo and Riyadh. On Wednesday, Mohammad will travel to Britain.

Ties have grown between Egypt and Saudi Arabia since 2013 when Al Sissi led the army’s toppling of Islamist president Mohammad Mursi following enormous street protests against his one-year rule.

Last June, Egypt joined Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in breaking off diplomatic and transportation links with Qatar over its support for terrorist groups.

Qatar is a staunch backer of the Muslim Brotherhood, which Egypt has designated as a terrorist organization.