Riyadh 'strikes back at Egypt in pan-Arab aviation authority'

Riyadh 'strikes back at Egypt in pan-Arab aviation authority'
The Saudi government has reportedly tried to take action against Egypt in the Arab Authority for Civil Aviation and is mulling pulling more aid sent to its former ally.
2 min read
27 December, 2016
Sisi has been trying to strengthen ties with Trump, Russia and the Syrian regime [Getty]
Saudi officials have reportedly requested that Egypt be ruled out of leading the Arab Authority for Civil Aviation [AACA], as tensions between the two long-time allies further deteriorate.

An Egyptian diplomatic source told The New Arab that Saudi officials made the request to exclude Egypt from the head of position of the pan-Arab aviation regulator last week at a meeting in Oman.

"The Egyptian government has received word that Saudi Arabia is thinking about withdrawing a deposit, which Riyadh had sent to support Cairo's currency reserves," the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said.

In November, the International Monetary Fund [IMF] approved a $12 billion loan for Egypt, just over a week after Cairo floated its currency as part of an economic reform package linked to the loan.

The Saudi government had sent a $2 billion deposit to Egypt in October to help it secure $6 billion in bilateral financing to seal the IMF deal.

The source said that government of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was "placing its trust in gaining regional political power" after US President-elect Donald Trump assumes power on January 20 next year.

Last Thursday, Sisi agreed to postpone a UN vote demanding Israel to stop building settlements on Palestinian land after a phone call from Trump.

"The Egyptian government is no longer enthusiastic - possibly only temporarily - about reconciling with Saudi Arabia. Riyadh has rejected all its attempts because of its insistence on holding onto Tiran and Sanafir islands," the source said.

Sisi had been supported by billions of dollars in aid from Saudi Arabia, but ties have cooled between the two countries amid disagreements over Syria.

Saudi Arabia suspended oil shipments to Egypt in October, a move announced after Cairo backed a Russian-drafted resolution on Syria in the UN Security Council, angering Riyadh.

Sisi, a former military chief who overthrew his Islamist predecessor in 2013, has since been trying to strengthen ties with Trump, Russia and the Syrian regime.

Trump has repeatedly said that the US needs to block all oil imports from Saudi Arabia.