Sisi, Saudi king discuss Yemen amid conflicting reports over ground troops presence


Sisi, Saudi king discuss Yemen amid conflicting reports over ground troops presence
By ARIEL BEN SOLOMON/05/03/2015/J.Post

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi paid a brief visit to Saudi Arabia on Saturday to discuss the Yemen war and the wider regional landscape with Saudi leaders.

Sisi’s visit lasted “less than two hours, focused on the restive regional scene, mainly Yemen, Syria and Iraq,” Arab News quoted Affifi Ahmed Abdelwahab, the Egyptian ambassador to the Kingdom, in a report on Sunday.

The Egyptian ambassador said that the talks were held within the context of regular consultations between the two countries, adding, “Events in Yemen, Syria and Iraq, as well as elsewhere in the region require more frequent consultations.”

There were conflicting reports on Sunday about whether Arab special forces landed in Yemen to help in fighting the Iran-backed Houthi militia.

Sisi made the visit also to congratulate the Saudi royal family three days after a major royal shakeup.
Saudi King Salman appointed his nephew, Interior Minister Mohammed bin Nayef, as crown prince and heir, and his own son,

Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman, as deputy crown prince last Wednesday.
Sisi had already congratulated the crown prince and deputy crown prince by telephone, an official Egyptian government website said on Friday.

Saturday’s visit is the third made by Sisi to Saudi Arabia this year.

David Andrew Weinberg, a specialist on Gulf affairs and a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told The Jerusalem Post that another reason for the visit was for Sisi to establish relations with the new leadership following the replacement of the former crown prince, Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz, who had been in line as successor and had served as the point man in Saudi-Egyptian relations.

Meanwhile, Egypt’s army killed 29 suspected terrorists in northern Sinai between April 20 to 30, the Aswat Masriya website quoted an army spokesman as saying on Saturday.

The spokesman added that 27 wanted persons were arrested, along with 106 other suspects. Fifty-one terrorist hideouts were destroyed.

Reuters contributed to this report.