CAIRO (Rahnuma) : As part of his Arab tour, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrived in Egypt on Monday despite civil opposition, according to Egypt’s official MENA news agency.
Bin Salman was welcomed by Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi at Cairo International Airport, MENA said.
It also said that two parties are expected to discuss bilateral relations and regional developments during bin Salman’s two-day visit.
Earlier, the Civil Democratic Movement, an umbrella of nine opposition groups, voiced disapproval of the visit.
In a statement, the movement described bin Salman as “one of the architects of the seizure of Tiran and Sanafir islands” – two Red Sea island that Egypt ceded to Saudi Arabia under a 2016 maritime demarcation agreement.
The movement said bin Salman’s visit was “an attempt to beautify his image as a result of Khashoggi’s killing,” referring to last month’s killing at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
While Saudi Arabia has blamed the Oct. 2 killing on a rogue hit squad, weeks of shifting explanations aroused suspicions. A CIA assessment earlier this month implicated bin Salman in the slaying.
Dozens of Egyptian journalists also issued a statement rejecting bin Salman’s visit due to the deteriorating situation in Yemen, the site of ongoing violence since 2015 — when a Saudi-led air campaign against Houthi rebels was launched — as well as alleged normalized ties with Israel.
Crown prince in his ‘2nd country’
Saudi Arabia’s Cairo Embassy created a hashtag in Arabic on Twitter: “Crown prince in his second country.”
With the move, the embassy apparently hoped to reduce opposition on social media and in public to bin Salman’s visit.
On Thursday, bin Salman arrived in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for a three-day visit, the first stop on his Arab tour, where he met with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed.
On Sunday, he visited Bahrain for talks with King Hamad bin Issa.
Though the Saudi Royal Court did not name the countries that bin Salman is due to visit, the crown prince is also expected to visit Tunisia, Algeria, and Mauritania.
Later this month he is also expected to attend a G20 summit in Argentina.
Bin Salman’s tour is his first since Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and columnist for The Washington Post, was killed inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2