GHAZANFAR ALI KHAN
Key regional issues including the continuing Yemen crisis figured prominently during talks between Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sissi here on Saturday.
“The visit of El-Sissi, lasting less than two hours, focused on the restive regional scene, mainly Yemen, Syria and Iraq,” said Affifi Ahmed Abdelwahab, Egyptian ambassador to the Kingdom.
Abdelwahab said that the consultations between King Salman and El-Sissi were held within the framework of regular coordination between the two countries, especially at this sensitive time when the Arab world is facing several challenges.
“Events in Yemen, Syria and Iraq, as well as elsewhere in the region require more frequent consultations,” the envoy added.
Asked about the specifics of other topics including the regular skirmishes on Saudi-Yemeni border and the need for a ground offensive were discussed by the two leaders, Abdelwahab said that “the whole gamut of bilateral and regional issues were taken up for discussion as it normally happens in such summit talks.”
He, however, did not divulge the details of specific issues discussed by the two leaders.
El-Sissi, who wrapped up his brief visit and returned to Cairo later the same day, extended his greetings and congratulations to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif, deputy premier and minister of interior; and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, second deputy premier and minister of defense, on their recent appointments. “One of the aims of El-Sissi’s visit was to congratulate the crown prince and deputy crown prince,” he noted.
The Egyptian president was accompanied by several high-ranking officials including Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, chief of the General Intelligence Service Khaled Fawzy, head of the president’s office Abbas Kamel, and Abdelwahab.
The visit was the Egyptian leader’s third to Saudi Arabia this year.
It was also announced that King Salman will hold talks with Moroccan King Mohammed VI here on Sunday.
“This will be the Moroccan king’s first official visit to Saudi Arabia since the enthronement of King Salman,” said a statement released by the palace of the Moroccan king on Saturday.
Yemen, together with key regional issues will be at the center of the Saudi-Morocco talks to be held here between the two leaders.
Moroccan forces are fighting alongside Saudi Arabia and its allies against Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen in Decisive Storm operations.