Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi arrived Sunday in Riyadh, as his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is accused of backing the Cairo-banned Muslim Brotherhood, also visited Saudi Arabia.
It remains unclear if both leaders, whose relations have been strained ever since the overthrow of Sisi’s Islamist predecessor Mohammad Mursi in July 2013, would meet in Riyadh.
Sisi’s visit comes after a satellite television aired in February an audio recording in which he apparently suggests that Gulf monarchies have more money than they need and that Egypt should have some.
Sisi swiftly initiated telephone conversations with his allies in the Gulf who reassured him on the strength of their ties, including with Saudi King Salman who told him relations with Cairo are “strategic”.
On Sunday the Saudi monarch greeted Sisi upon his arrival, the official SPA news agency reported, as local media said both leaders discussed “bilateral relations and regional developments.”
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait are the main financial backers of Sisi’s government, having pledged around $12 billion to it since he came to power.
In an interview with Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya news channel ahead of the visit Sisi insisted that bilateral relations with Riyadh were strong and never “turbid”.
His visit coincides with that of Erdogan.
There was no immediate indication that the two would meet.
Sisi said the visit by both leaders to the kingdom was a “coincidence”.
But he also urged Turkey to “stop interfering in Egypt’s internal affairs”, in the interview with Al-Arabiya.
Turkey, along with Gulf member Qatar, have been accused of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, the movement of Mursi, blacklisted by Saudi, Egypt, and the UAE.