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Arab Paper: Tensions Increasing in Riyadh-Cairo Ties

19 December 2016 15:01

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Cairo considers Saudi Arabia’s attempts to expand relations with Ethiopia as a threat to its security and it may respond by strengthening ties with Tehran, Damascus and Sana’a, a leading Arabic-language newspaper wrote.

According to al-Rai daily, the Egyptian nation and government are angry at Saudi Arabia’s new turn towards Ethiopia since the African country is viewed as a rival for Cairo.

Meantime, the Saudi king has shown displeasure in the UAE’s recent efforts to improve relations between Cairo and Riyadh and arrived in Abu Dhabi two hours after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi left the UAE.

The Arab newspaper underlined that while differences between Egypt and Saudi Arabia are worsening, more media and political conflicts between the two sides are expected, adding that the Egyptian officials are likely to respond their Saudi counterparts’ measures with some trips to Damascus, Tehran and Sana’a.

Egypt has also been striving hard since a few weeks ago to prevent the agreement between Riyadh and Djibouti on building a military base in the African country, diplomatic sources said.

According to the Arabic-language al-Khalij al-Jadid news website, the sources said earlier this month that Cairo strongly opposes the agreement since the region that Riyadh has chosen to set up its base is under Egypt’s political influence and considered as its strategic depth in the South.

They added that Riyadh’s decision is against the tradition and old regulations respected by the Arab countries.

The Egyptian sources underlined that Saudi Arabia has remained adamant to coordination and partnership with Egypt and intend to go on with its plan.

Djibouti Foreign Minister Mahamoud Ali Youssouf announced last week that Saudi Arabia plans to set up a military base in his country.

“I gave a tour to the Saudi military leaders in different parts of Djibouti for establishing their military bases,” Youssouf said in an interview with al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper early December.

Noting that the agreement to build a base for Saudi Arabia will be signed in the near future, he said that Riyadh’s military presence in Djibouti is no way considered as interference in the little African country’s affairs.

Experts believe that the military base could be used for carrying out operations against Yemen by the Saudi-led coalition.

Saudi Arabia has been striking Yemen since March 2015 to restore power to fugitive president Mansour Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh. The Saudi-led aggression has so far killed at least 12,000 Yemenis, including hundreds of women and children.

Despite Riyadh’s claims that it is bombing the positions of the Ansarullah fighters, Saudi bombers are flattening residential areas and civilian infrastructures.

According to several reports, the Saudi-led air campaign against Yemen has drove the impoverished country towards humanitarian disaster.

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