Sunday , November 19 2017

RIYADH RESHUFFLES – Saudis, Sisi ease tension

A handout picture provided by the Saudi Royal Palace on April 23, shows Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (right), receiving Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, upon the latter’s arrival in the capital Riyadh. (AFP)

RIYADH, April 23, (Agencies): Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi received a royal welcome from King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud as he landed Sunday in Saudi Arabia for a visit to boost ties after months of tension.

King Salman, surrounded by key Saudi officials, greeted Sisi as he stepped off the plane in the capital Riyadh and hosted him for lunch, the official Saudi Press Agency said.

The two Arab leaders then had talks during which they “reviewed the strong and brotherly relations as well as cooperation between their two countries” and regional issues, the agency said.

The Egyptian presidency announced the visit in a statement on Friday, saying Sisi’s trip was in response to an invitation by Salman and aimed at “bolstering strategic relations between the two countries”.

It said King Salman and Sisi would discuss “regional and international issues of common interest”.

“The struggle against terrorism which threatens security and stability” in the region and beyond would top their agenda, it said.

Sisi met King Salman on the sidelines of an Arab League summit in Jordan last month to break the ice after months of apparent tensions between the two allies.

That encounter on March 29 came days after Egypt announced that Saudi energy giant Aramco had resumed delivering shipments of petroleum products after abruptly suspending them in October.

Aramco had halted agreed monthly deliveries of 700,000 tonnes of petroleum products without explanation.

But the halt came after Egypt voted in favour of a Russian-drafted UN Security Council resolution on Syria that Saudi Arabia strongly opposed.

Moscow is a staunch supporter of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad while Riyadh is a key backer of the rebels who are fighting his regime.

Ties between Cairo and Riyadh had also suffered after an agreement to hand over to Saudi Arabia two Red Sea islands, signed during a visit by Salman to Cairo last year, was blocked by a court ruling.

Earlier this month, an Egyptian court ruled that the decision to block the transfer of Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia was invalid.

Cairo has said the islands were Saudi territory which had been leased to Egypt in the 1950s.

Saudi Arabia supported Egypt with billions of dollars in aid after Sisi toppled Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013 when the president was head of the Egyptian army.

Saudi Arabia is opposed to the now outlawed Muslim Brotherhood to which Morsi belongs.

In other news, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, of Saudi Arabia approved on Saturday a number of royal orders to reshuffle the cabinet and top state bodies, and reinstating former financial laws.

The first order re-instigates all allowances, privileges and financial premiums given to civil and military officials previously cancelled, amended or frozen as per the Cabinet’s decision No. 551, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

Ambassador to the United States Prince Abdullah bin Faisal bin Turki bin Abdullah Al Saud was relieved of his post and Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud replaced him.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud was appointed as Minister of State for Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources.

Dr Muhammed bin Ibrahim Al-Swail was relieved of his post as Minister of Communication and Information Technology and replaced with Eng. Abdullah bin Ammar Al-Sawahlah.

Dr Adel bin Zaid Altoraifi was relieved of his post as Minister of Culture and Information and replaced with Dr Awad bin Saleh bin Abdullah Al-Awad.

Khalid bin Abdullah Al-Araj was relieved of his post as Minister of Civil Affairs and replaced with Dr Essam bin Saad bin Saeed as acting Minister of Civil Affairs. A ministerial committee, affiliated to the Royal Court was formed to complete the necessary procedures and investigations into the violations involving Al-Arj, according to the royal order.

King Salman appointed Eng. Ibrahim Abdulrahman Al-Muamar as Governor of the General Authority for Investment.

King Salman relieved Prince Saud bin Abdulmohsin bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Governor of Hail Region, of his post, replacing him with Prince Abdulaziz bin Saad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. Prince Saud bin Abdulmohsin was named as Special Advisor to the King.

Prince Abdulrahman bin Muhammed bin Ayaf Al Mugren was appointed as Secretary General of the Cabinet.

Nasser bin Abdulaziz Al-Dawood was appointed as Consultant at the Royal Court.

King Salman relieved Prince Mishaal bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz bin Musaed bin Jalawi Al Saud of his post as Governor of Northern Borders Region, and replaced him with Prince Faisal bin Khalid bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

He also relieved Lt-Gen Eid bin Awad bin Eid Al-Shalawi of his post as Commander of Ground Forces, and appointing him as consultant at the office of Minister of Defense Maj-Gen Fahad bin Turki bin Abdulaziz Al Saud was appointed as Commander of Ground Forces.

Gen Yosif bin Ali Alidreesi was retired as the deputy chief of general intelligence; he was replaced with Ahmad bin Hasan bin Mohammad Aseeri.

Prince Abdullah bin Mussad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud was relieved of his post as president and board chairman of the General Authority for Sports. Mohammed Abdulmalik Al Al-Shiekh was appointed as President of the Authority.

Awad bin Saleh bin Abdullah Al-Awad was appointed as Chairman of Board of Directors of the General Authority for Culture.

Prince Mansour bin Muqren bin Abdulaziz Al Saud as Governor of Asir Region.

Prince Saud bin Khalid bin Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud was appointed as Vice Governor of Al-Madinah Al-Munawarah Region.

Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz bin Mohammed bin Abdulaziz Al Saud was named as Vice Governor of Jazan Region.

Prince Ahmed bin Fahd bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud was appointed as Vice Governor of the Eastern Region.

Prince Fahd bin Turki bin Faisal bin Turki bin Abdulaziz Al Saud was baned as Vice Governor of Al-Qassim Region.

Prince Abdullah bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz Al Saud was appointed as Vice Governor of Makkah Region.

Prince Turki bin Hazlool bin Abdulaziz Al Saud was named as Vice Governor of Najran Region.

Prince Ahmed bin Abdullah bin Abdulrahman Al Saud was named as Governor of Al-Dareya Province.

Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah Al-Faisal was appointed as consultant at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Dr Abdulrahman bin Mohammed Al-Assami was relieved of his post as Rector of Prince Sattam bin Abdulaziz University. Dr Abdulrahman bin Mohammed Al-Assami was appointed as Deputy Minister of Education.

Majed Abdullah Al-Bawardi was appointed as Deputy Minister of Commerce and Investment.

Eng Tariq bin Abdulaziz Al-Faris was appointed as Deputy Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs.

Eng Mansoor bin Hilal bin Marzooq Ala’nezi was appointed as Deputy Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture.

Eng Saad bin Abdulaziz Alkhalb was appointed as Deputy Minister of Transport.

The royal orders took immediate effect.

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