Araweelo News Network

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Riyadh(ANN)-Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is scheduled to travel to Egypt, a key partner in Saudi regional adventures whose president came to power after a coup staged with Riyadh’s blessing.

The office of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi announced in a statement on Friday that the Saudi crown prince was due in Cairo on Sunday for a three-day visit.

Bin Salman will then head to the United Kingdom on March 7 and to the United States on March 19.

Saudi Arabia and Egypt have strengthened relations since 2013, when Sisi took power following the military overthrow of Egypt’s first democratically-elected president, Mohamed Morsi.

Sisi, then the commander of the military, enjoyed Saudi support in staging the coup.

Egypt is also a key ally of Saudi Arabia in an ongoing war on Yemen and an economic and diplomatic standoff with Qatar, a fellow Arab country.

On both fronts, the Saudi-led countries have failed to achieve their objectives. The war on Yemen has so far killed more than 13,600 people and led to a humanitarian crisis in the impoverished state.

In a move seen as indicative of its obedience to the Riyadh regime, Egypt in April 2016 agreed to hand over two of its islands — the strategic Tiran and Sanafir islands in the Red Sea — to Saudi Arabia, triggering protests at home.

An Egyptian riot policeman stands on top of a vehicle during a demonstration against a controversial deal to hand two islands in the Red Sea to Saudi Arabia, in central Cairo, April 15, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Egyptian opponents of the deal said Sisi effectively surrendered Egyptian sovereignty, especially as reports emerged saying that Cairo was receiving 20 billion dollars in aid from Riyadh in return for the handover of the islands.

According to the Israeli daily Haaretz, Israel had expressed its approval of the deal during talks with the Egyptian side provided that freedom of navigation for Israeli ships through the area would be guaranteed.

Bin Salman’s visit comes weeks ahead of Egypt’s presidential election, with Sisi expected to easily win a second term in office as all real challengers have been detained, prosecuted, or intimidated out of the race.