Saudi Arabia on al-Sisi’s top agenda during his UAE visit

Abdel Fattah al-Sisi arrived Thursday in the Emirati capital Abu Dhabi on an official two-day visit.

Many observers believe that the visit comes at a critical time due to the continuous tensions between Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

In addition, al-Sisi’s visit comes amid a recent crisis that occurred between Egypt and Qatar due to the broadcast of a documentary movie on conscripts in the Egyptian Armed Forces.

Al-Jazeera, Qatari-owned news TV channel, has recently released a documentary movie entitled “Conscripts”, telling the story of the Egyptian youth preparing to serve out their compulsory military service.

The movie reportedly featured the conscripts giving their testimonies about the treatment they received during their military service, and the commercial and industrial projects owned by the military.

In response, the Egyptian regime considered the documentary movie “an insult to the armed forces” that has exceeded all the limits. At the same time, the Egyptian regime believes that Saudi Arabia has given the green light to broadcasting that movie.

Since al-Sisi reached power through a military coup in 2013, he visited UAE more than once and his last visit was in October 2015.

The relations between both countries have strengthened as UAE has provided unlimited support to al-Sisi regime to face the pro-democracy political forces, including the Muslim Brotherhood and President Mohamed Morsi supporters.

The UAE also provided Egypt with billions of dollars as a financial aid to rescue Egypt’s economy.

Egypt’s al-Sisi and UAE share common interests and agendas related several issues in the region.

Mending the relations between al-Sisi and King Salman

One of the major issues that are expected to be on al-Sisi’s top agenda during the visit is mending the relations between Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Al-Sisi’s visit will probably seek UAE’s mediation to end the tensions between both countries that have recently emerged due to their political differences toward various regional issues especially in Syria.

In this context, Abduallah al-Senawy, an Egyptian journalist close to the regime, said that the visit will seek to narrow the differences between Egypt and Saudi Arabia, according to Arabi 21.

Moreover, some media reports said that the UAE invited both al-Sisi and King Salman to attend the UAE National Day celebration in order to break the ice between both countries.

Recently, ther have been much Emirati effort to mediate between King Salman and al-Sisi for ending the dispute between both countries.

At an earlier time this month, some Egyptian political sources unveiled that Egypt asked Bahrain and UAE to mediate with Saudi Arabia to end the differences between the two parties that led the Kingdom to halt the supply of oil products to Egypt after escalation of differences, according to Al-Arabi al-Jadeed.

“The mediation requested by the Egyptian side aims to halt the tensions and war of words between both sides in the light of the economic crisis that hits Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s regime, “according to the sources.

The sources stressed that “the current economic struggle and public dissent escalating in the Egypt have pushed the regime to seek the mediation of Gulf parties to swiftly end the dispute between Cairo and the Kingdom and resume the supply of oil products to Cairo that costs the country $1 billion if it purchased it from the market away from its agreement with the Saudi Aramco company.”

The sources continued, “This would cause a huge deficit in the foreign currency reserves which will have negative repercussions especially under Egypt’s rising need for every single dollar in its monetary reserves to start securing the $12 billion loan deal from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on three tranches.”

Furthermore, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme commander of the UAE Armed Forces Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed al-Nahyan visited Egypt for few hours three weeks ago to mediate between Egypt and Saudi Arabia for decrease the level of tension between both countries.

The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi tried to contain the differences between both countries regarding the Yemeni and Syrian crises but to no avail. However, the Egyptian media campaign against Saudi Arabia were only reduced.

The Egyptian-Saudi tension reached its peak in the light of the war of words launched by the Egyptian media against the Saudi Kingdom which pushed Saudi activists to launch a hashtag apologizing to President Mohamed Morsi for the “Kingdom’s support for the military coup” in Egypt.

Tensions between Cairo and Riyadh have escalated as a result of Egypt’s divergent stances in sensitive issues to Riyadh.

Egypt has voted in favor of a Russian-backed draft resolution in the UN Security Council on Syria, which was opposed by Saudi Arabia.

As a result, Egypt’s stance has angered Egypt’s major Gulf backer which condemned Egypt’s vote and described it with the” painful” stance.

After the voting, the Saudi ambassador to the UN, Abduallah al-Mouallimi said, “It was painful that the Senegalese and Malaysian stance was closer to the Arab’s consensus than the Egyptian delegation.”

He also said that he feels pity for these countries that voted for the Russian resolution, stressing that his country will continue backing the Syrian people by all means.

Two days following the voting, Saudi state-owned oil company Aramco announced halting oil product supply to Egypt.

The sudden halt triggered a scornful media campaign against Saudi Arabia, as it was seen as a political decision. On the other side, Saudi journalists and media men criticized the Egyptian regime and blamed the Kingdom for its financial generosity with the al-Sisi regime.