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Mutual interests break ice between Egypt, Saudi Arabia

Although tension has been high between Egypt and Saudi Arabia in the past few months, signs of cooperation are emerging over the development of Sinai and other common interests.
A man walks past graffiti depicting relations between Egypt and Saudi Arabia in Cairo, Egypt, October 12, 2016. Picture taken October 12, 2016. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh - RTSS268
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CAIRO — Despite the strain in Egyptian-Saudi ties since last October, on Jan. 26, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi approved King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud 's $1.5 billion development plan for the Sinai Peninsula. On Jan. 21, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed quoted an Egyptian diplomatic source as saying that Egypt asked Saudi diplomats to mediate to end Sudanese demands for direct talks on the annexation of the disputed Halayeb and Shalateen areas.

The Egyptian-Saudi tension ramped up Oct. 9 after Egypt voted at the UN Security Council in favor of a Russian draft resolution to end the war in Syria, and Saudi Arabia's permanent representative to the UN Abdullah al-Mouallimi expressed resentment. Matters escalated Oct. 10 as Saudi Aramco informed the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation that oil shipments to Egypt were suspended. Aramco told Egypt Nov. 8 that the halt was indefinite, which observers perceived as a Saudi sanction on Egypt for its vote.

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