Egypt, Saudi Arabia stress importance of freedom of navigation

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry traveled to Riyadh on Tuesday morning to chair the Egyptian-Saudi political consultation committee along with his Saudi counterpart Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud.
Wednesday 02/12/2020
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry meets with Saudi Arabia’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir at Tahrir Palace in Cairo, Egypt July 27, 2020. (REUTERS)
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry meets with Saudi Arabia’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir at Tahrir Palace in Cairo, Egypt July 27, 2020. (REUTERS)

CAIRO – Saudi Arabia and Egypt stressed on Tuesday the importance of guaranteeing maritime freedom in the Gulf, Bab el Mandeb strait and the Red Sea, Saudi state television reported.

The statement came after a meeting between Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud and his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry, who is visiting the kingdom.

The Egyptian minister traveled to Riyadh on Tuesday morning to chair the Egyptian-Saudi political consultation committee along with his Saudi counterpart, where they discussed a number of regional issues as well as boosting bilateral cooperation during the coming period, as per directives of the two countries’ political leaders.

During the Tuesday meeting, Shoukry and his Saudi counterpart discussed growing challenges in the region and solutions, as well as international developments of mutual interest to the two countries, according to a statement released by the Egyptian foreign ministry.

The meeting, the statement added, was an opportunity “to emphasise the mutual solidarity between Egypt and Saudi Arabia in facing issues that threaten their respective security, stability, as well as Arab national security.”

In a joint statement issued by the Egyptian-Saudi political consultation committee, Egypt and Saudi Arabia said they consider the Palestinian cause a central issue for the Arab world and that both countries support an independent Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry attends a news conference after the meeting with Saudi Arabia’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir at Tahrir Palace in Cairo, Egypt July 27, 2020. (REUTERS)
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry attends a news conference after the meeting with Saudi Arabia’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir at Tahrir Palace in Cairo, Egypt July 27, 2020. (REUTERS)

The two countries asserted their complete rejection of foreign interference in the internal affairs of Arab countries as well as attempts to destabilise the region.

They also stressed the important role of the Arab League in solving crises in the region as well as the importance of boosting joint Arab work.

Regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, the Saudi minister said that the kingdom backs Egypt’s right to preserve its water security. He also declared his country’s support for Egypt’s aim to reach a legally binding agreement on the dam through serious talks.

Shoukry expressed Egypt’s complete support for Saudi Arabia in protecting its national security. He also said that Cairo rejects any attack on Saudi territories, stressing that the kingdom’s national security is connected to Egypt’s.

On regional security, the two countries agreed on the importance of preserving Libya’s stability and rejecting all foreign interference in its affairs. They also stressed their support for a comprehensive political solution based on the Berlin Conference and the Cairo Declaration.

As for bilateral relations, the two ministers said that Egypt and Saudi Arabia should work to boost economic cooperation and work to remove obstacles standing in the way of increasing commercial and investment exchange.

They also discussed the latest developments concerning the coronavirus pandemic and its impact.

Shoukry’s visit comes after a series of coordinated meetings that brought together diplomats and assistants of the two countries’ foreign ministers on Monday.

In July, Shoukry and Bin Farhan affirmed during talks in Cairo that Egypt and Saudi Arabia are coordinating with each other on all issues of concern to the region. These include the situations in Yemen, Syria and Libya, combating terrorism and confronting the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The consultation committee was formed in 2007. Meetings are held annually and headed by both countries’ foreign ministers.