Saudi crown prince to head to Egypt, Jordan before visit to Turkey

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman begins a regional tour Monday in Egypt that will also take him to Turkey to bolster regional ties, a Saudi diplomat told AFP.

After Cairo, Prince Mohammed, Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader, will travel to Jordan and then on to Turkey, the diplomat said.

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.

According to Saudi officials quoted by The Associated Press, the crown prince is scheduled to meet with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi in Sharm el-Sheikh on Monday, before meeting with Jordan’s King Abdullah in Amman on Tuesday.

The officials said the purpose of his meetings in Egypt and Jordan is to coordinate their positions on key issues ahead of a joint summit with US President Joe Biden in Jeddah next month that will also include Iraq’s prime minister.

Turkish President Tayyip Recep Erdogan announced on Friday that Prince Mohammed would be visiting Turkey on June 22.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, left, and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman speak after their meeting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, early Friday, April 29, 2022. Prince Mohammed is due to visit Turkey next week. (Turkish Presidency via AP)

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 officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss details of the tour, told The Associated Press that Prince Mohammed will also discuss with officials in Turkey a number of regional and international issues, foremost of which is the Iranian nuclear file, efforts to end the war in Yemen, the repercussions of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on the region and ways to strengthen bilateral relations in energy and trade.

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.

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