Cairo and Riyadh Sign Pact Boosting Economic and Military Ties

Saudi Arabia and Egypt signed a new pact late last week aimed at increasing ties both economically and in the military between the two Arab allies.

Since the ouster in 2013 of Islamist Mohammad Morsi ties have warmed, with Saudi Arabia giving Egypt billions of dollars in aid and Cairo taking part in a bombing campaign led by the Saudis against Yemen Houthi rebels who are backed by Iran.

A delegation from Saudi Arabia led by Mohammad bin Salman the Deputy Crown Prince visited Cairo last week and signed a new declaration while also attending a military parade with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Sisi’s office announced after the pact was signed that both sides stress a need to exert more efforts to increase stability and security across the region and work together to protect the national security of Arabs.

Riyadh is now a major supporter of Egypt since the former army chief ousted Morsi in July of 2013, offering more than $4 billion to help the economy, which was battered by many years of turmoil politically.

Egypt for its part has backed the air campaign by Riyadh against Yemen Shiite rebels saying regularly that it shares common visions with the Saudis on tackling the crisis in Yemen.

Cairo said previously that it would be prepared as well to commit its ground troops if it was required. The new pact between the two countries also supports the building of a new Arab military force to fight against terrorism in the area.

In addition, last week the U.S. started the delivery of eight of its F-16 fighter jets to Cairo according to the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, the first since the country lifted its freeze in March on arms delivery.

Following the Morsi ouster, the U.S. froze its annual military aid of $1.3 billion to Egypt.

It resumed its full assistance in March and Egypt took new delivery of military weapons and fast missile boats in June.

In December, the U.S. had delivered 10 of its Apache helicopters.

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