Meeting between Egyptian and Saudi Officials : Egypt and Saudi Arabia reject interfering in Arab affairs

Egypt_Saudiarabia

Egypt EgyptEgypt and Saudi Arabia criticized attempts by unspecified “regional actors” to interfere in Arab affairs on Thursday, vowing to combat dangers to shipping in the Red Sea’s southern reaches.

The statement speaks of regional parties utilizing ethnic and sectarian instruments, terrorist groups, and “expansionist aspirations” to interfere in the internal affairs of Arab nations, with thinly veiled references to non-Arab powers such as Iran and Turkey.

The meeting in Cairo between Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and his Saudi colleague Prince Faisal bin Farhan highlighted the two countries’ close connections at a time when the region is dealing with geopolitical concerns emerging from hotspots such as Yemen, Libya, and Syria.

The statement’s mention of the safety of ships in the southern Red Sea, as well as Egypt’s support for Saudi Arabia in the face of “aggression,” were clearly in reference to Yemen, where the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels have been fighting the internationally recognized government since 2014.

The Houthis have been launching missiles and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia, bringing widespread international criticism. “The Egyptian side emphasized its rejection of action against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s and the Gulf Arab region’s security, which is an integral aspect of Egypt’s national security,” according to the statement.

The declaration also emphasized the importance of preserving Libya’s unity and stability, stressing that the country’s presidential and parliamentary elections must go place this month. They also demanded that all foreign forces and mercenaries leave Libya. Saudi Arabia’s support for Egypt in its conflict with Ethiopia over a Nile dam was also noted in the statement.

The statement went on to say that Saudi Arabia fully backed Egypt’s “water security” and the conclusion of a legally binding agreement on the filling and operation of the massive hydroelectric dam Ethiopia is building on the Nile as soon as possible. It went on to say that such an agreement would “keep off the damage caused by this project on downstream states [Egypt and Sudan] and strengthen co-operation between them and Ethiopia.”

Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous country with almost 100 million inhabitants, claims the project will limit its share of Nile water, on which it relies for nearly all of its freshwater needs. Ethiopia maintains that Cairo has nothing to be concerned about, but refuses to enter into a legally binding agreement.

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