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Saudi Crown Prince Makes Regional Tour Ahead of Biden Visit

·2 min read

(Bloomberg) --

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Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler arrived in Egypt, beginning a rare regional tour that will also seek to build bridges with former rival Turkey.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi will discuss ways to enhance ties between the two nations as well as regional and international political issues, according to a statement from the Egyptian presidency on Monday evening.

The trip comes ahead of the first visit by U.S. President Joe Biden to Saudi Arabia next month for wide-ranging talks including on energy, investment, security and Iran. Before heading to Turkey, the crown prince will stop in Jordan, Saudi newspaper Okaz reported. Saudi Arabia has not officially commented on the trip.

Erdogan Says Saudi Crown Prince to Visit As Ties Warm

In Egypt, El-Sisi’s government is wrestling with record grain prices exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Saudi Arabia is one of several Gulf Arab states which have together pledged more than $20 billion in deposits and investment to shore up the economy of a country viewed as a linchpin in the Arab world.

Ahead of Prince Mohammed’s arrival, Sisi and the kings of Bahrain and Jordan discussed steps to deepen their relations and coordinate on “issues of common concern” at a meeting in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh on Sunday.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said last week he would welcome the Saudi crown prince in Ankara on June 22. That leg of the tour could deliver a boost to Turkey’s deteriorating economy. It comes after years of regional rivalry, exacerbated by the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018.

Erdogan is working to improve relations with Riyadh and other regional capitals as he aims to boost trade and lure investment. Turkish inflation has surged above 70%, threatening to undermine support for the longtime Turkish leader and his party ahead of elections scheduled for next year.

(Updates with arrival in Egypt from first paragraph.)

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