Egypt preparing for a top official visit to Tehran in response to the Saudi visit to the Renaissance Dam

Egyptian sources revealed that there are preparations to send an Egyptian minister to the Iranian capital Tehran in response to the visit of King’s Salman adviser to the Renaissance Dam recently. 

The sources also pointed that the UAE had previously interfered at the last minute to halt Egypt’s Petroleum Minister Tarek El Molla from visiting Tehran that would have been the first visit by an Egyptian top official to Iran since 2012.

Last November, Reuters reported that Egypt’s Petroleum Minister was traveling to Iran trying to strike new oil deals. But the news was denied later by both states.

The sources said that Egyptian sovereign authorities leaked the news about the minister of petroleum’s visit to Tehran two months ago, within the context of the political messages exchanged between Egypt and Saudi Arabia after Saudi Aramco Company halted its oil supply to Egypt.

According to a former agreement with the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation with $23 billion, Aramco should have supplied Egypt with 700,000 tons monthly for 5 years be paid off over 15 years.

The sources also mentioned that there are differences within Egypt’s decision-making circles on the identity of the minister who will likely pay the visit to Iran.

As some suggest that the visit should be limited to one of the economic group’s ministers, others pressure to send Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, so that the visit could achieve its aims in response to the Gulf stances that angered Cairo.

However, Sameh Shoukry’s visit to Iran faces a great opposition from sovereign authorities who believe that it exceeds the red lines with the Gulf states.

They also believe that it would be better to leave an open door with hopes to revive the warmth to the Egyptian relations with the Gulf countries, especially that Egypt’s FM visit would anger not only Saudi Arabia but the UAE as well.

Moreover, there are speculations among the Egyptian diplomatic circles that there was a coordination between Riyadh and Doha regarding the recent visit of the Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani to Ethiopia which came in response to the Egyptian accusation on the involvement of Qatar in bombing Coptic Church.

Last week, Egypt’s interior ministry has accused Qatar of supporting the deadly massacre at St. Peter’s Church killing 25 people and injuring almost 49 others last week, which was rejected by Qatar and denounced by the GCC countries.

Dr. Atef al-Saadawi, an expert at al-Ahram Political and Strategic Center, said that relations between Egypt and the countries of the Arabian Gulf have extended the red lines.

Saadawi believes that the visit of an Egyptian top official to Tehran will come into action during the coming days stressing that the questions among the Egyptian circles aren’t about making the visit or not? but when will it occur and which minister will pay that visit to Tehran?!

In the same context, Saadawi believes that the situation won’t reach the extent of sending Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry as it would escalate the tensions between Egypt and the Gulf states, pointing that Egypt would only send a minister from the economic group.

The relations between Egypt and Saudi Arabia have strained after Egypt voted on the Russian-backed draft resolution in the United Nations security council. Egypt’s vote on October 8 to support a Russian Security Council resolution on Aleppo has exposed an unprecedented rift between Egypt and its strongest Arab ally, Saudi Arabia.

The vote triggered the first public condemnation by the Saudis of the Egyptian regime, which they helped bring to power three years ago.

The Saudi criticism also coincided with cutting monthly discounted oil shipments to Egypt, a much-needed support for the country’s deteriorating economy.

Since then a cold war has erupted between both countries. Each country seeks to take steps against its counterpart in an unprecedented way.

In this context, Egypt sought to impede building a Saudi military base in Djibouti while informed media sources said that Ahmed Al-Khatib, the adviser of Saudi King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz, has paid a visit to the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam within the framework of his current presence in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, to find out the possibility of renewable energy generation.

In addition, Qatar also has entered into the line of conflict as the Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman has arrived in Addis Abba in his first visit to Ethiopia since his appointment last January 27.