The Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohamed Kamel Amr is currently in Saudi Arabia, in order to hold talks with his Saudi counterpart. The minister will be hosted in Saudi Arabia for two days, where he is expected to discuss the Syrian crisis, bilateral trade and head the first session of the Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) since President Mohamed Morsy was elected.
The JCC is an annual event started in 2007, and acts as a platform for bilateral talks between Riyadh and Cairo. Prior to initiating talks, Kamel Amr delivered a letter to King Abdullah Bin-Abd-Al-Aziz Al-Saud, wishing the monarch a swift recovery from recent surgery.
At the top of the agenda lies Syria, as an unstable regional power whose domestic conflict has been spilling over to neighbouring countries. According to the state-run MENA news agency, Saudi Arabia and Egypt will also be discussing the current Palestinian situation following its achievement of non-member observer status at the UN.
Kamel Amr is also scheduled to discuss the current situation surrounding Egyptian migrant workers in the kingdom, as reports of worker exploitation and harsh treatment are common and often left unresolved. There are an unknown number of Egyptians imprisoned in Saudi Arabia, with the most notable case being that of Nagla Wafa, a fashion designer who was arrested in 2009 and sentenced in 2011 to 500 lashes and five years imprisonment.
Given the current economic crisis in Egypt, Saudi Arabia is looking to guarantee its investments. The kingdom is one of the largest trading partners with Egypt, and the largest Arab investor.
The talks surrounding Saudi investments are part of a broader discussion surrounding the barriers to trade that may hinder an increased trading partnership.
During the 2011 revolution Saudi Arabia originally backed former president Hosni Mubarak, and the following year saw various incidents strain relations.
Last April, a prominent Egyptian lawyer was arrested entering Saudi Arabia on charges of drug trafficking. Ahmed Al-Gizawy had filed a lawsuit against the king on behalf of Egyptians that were being held without charge in Saudi prisons, and many have argued his arrest was politically motivated. His trial is still ongoing.
Al-Gizawy’s arrest was met with a large-scale protest in front of the Saudi embassy in Cairo, resulting in the government’s decision to temporarily withdraw their mission.