Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain leaders meet ahead of MbS, Biden visits
Leaders from Egypt, Jordan and Bahrain gathered in Sharm El Sheikh for a trilateral meeting ahead of an incoming visit to Saudi Arabia by US President Joe Biden as well as a regional tour by the Saudi crown prince, local media reported.
King Abdullah II of Jordan arrived at the seaside resort city of Sharm El Sheikh on Sunday where he met President Abdelfattah El Sisi and King of Bahrain Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.
The leaders reportedly touched on the need to expand trilateral cooperation across all sectors as well as joint Arab efforts to tackle a range of challenges, including food security, rising prices and energy costs.
The trio also discussed support for the “legitimate” Palestinian struggle, Arab News reported. Both Jordan and Bahrain have established ties with Israel, despite condemnation from all Palestinian factions.
Meanwhile, Egypt has been accused of aiding Israel’s ongoing violations against Palestinians due to its control of the border crossing.
The meeting on Sunday comes ahead of a planned tour by controversial Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who is expected to stop off in Egypt, Jordan and Turkey in a bid to bolster regional ties.
During the tour, he will discuss "regional and international files and the future of international cooperation", he said, adding that investment and energy deals are due to be signed.
President Tayyip Recep Erdogan announced on Friday that Prince Mohammed would be visiting Turkey on June 22.
It would be the Saudi royal's first visit to Turkey since the brutal killing of Saudi insider-turned-critic Jamal Khashoggi inside the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul, which shocked the world and dealt a heavy blow to ties between the regional rivals.
The visit, following one by Erdogan to Saudi Arabia in April, would seal efforts to heal ties between the two countries.
The Saudi diplomat said Prince Mohammed was also expected to visit Greece, Cyprus and Algeria, "probably in late July".
The Saudi government has yet to confirm the crown prince's upcoming trips.
Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden has also confirmed an upcoming regional tour that would see him visit the West Bank, Israel and Saudi Arabia, the first such trip since assuming his position.
Critics say undermines efforts to ostracise the kingdom's de facto leader after the brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
The trip has been decried by human rights activists and several US lawmakers as a "big mistake" considering Saudi Arabia's dire human rights record, including mass executions and targeted killings.
This will be Biden's first trip to the Middle East as president, and in addition to meetings with individual leaders in all Israel, the West Bank and Saudi Arabia, he will attend a regional Gulf Cooperation Council summit in Jeddah.