Saudi crown prince arrives in Cairo on regional tour

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrived in Cairo on Monday, the latest leg of his first foreign tour since the killing of critic Jamal Khashoggi sparked a global outcry.

The kingdom’s de facto ruler was met on arrival by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, a source at the airport said.

In Egypt, the royal’s talks with Sisi are expected to focus on “reinforcing bilateral relations and on regional issues of common interest,” presidency spokesman Bassam Radi told AFP.

After an overnight stay in Cairo, the crown prince is due to travel to Tunisia where protests against the visit have been organised by student bodies for Tuesday.

Around 100 people joined an initial demonstration on Monday in the capital Tunis, which had been called by the journalists’ union and several NGOs and civil society organisations.

Mohammed Bin Salman, also known as MBS, embarked on his first trip abroad on Thursday since the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a case which he finds himself increasingly embroiled in.

Khashoggi, a US resident and Saudi citizen, was lured to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, killed and dismembered, according to Turkish prosecutors.

(Saudi Press Agency via AP, File)

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the order to kill Khashoggi came from the highest levels of the Saudi government” and that “certain Saudi officials” were trying to cover up the crime, strongly implying that MBS was behind it.

The Khashoggi scandal caused international condemnation of the Saudi kingdom, but Riyadh’s strongest ally, the United States, decided not to let it damage the relationship.

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Despite a CIA analysis that was leaked to the press which indicated that MBS ordered the killing of Khashoggi, Trump has refused to blame the Crown Prince and insists that the relationship with Saudi Arabia should remain intact.

“If we go by a certain standard we won’t be able to have allies with almost any country. Maybe the world should be held accountable because the world is a vicious place. The world is a very, very vicious place,” Trump said last week.

Trump assured the US commitment to Saudi Arabia as well as other allies in the region.

Despite the growing tensions between Ankara and Riyadh overt the killing of Khashoggi, Erdogan and MBS might meet on the sidelines of the G20 meeting, according to Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin.

“We are looking at the program. There could be a meeting between the two men,” he said.

Erdogan and MBS spoke on the phone last month where they discussed joint efforts to shed light on what happened to Khashoggi, but the pressure on MBS has increased significantly since, due to a number of audio leaks and the CIA’s analysis.


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