07/31/2015, 00.00
EGYPT – SAUDI ARABIA
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Cairo and Riyadh to develop military and economic relations

"The two sides stressed the need to exert all efforts to boost security and stability in the region, and to work together to protect Arab national security," including an Arab military force, the ‘Cairo Declaration’ states.

Cairo (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Egypt and Saudi Arabia have signed a pact in Cairo aimed at boosting military and economic ties between the two Arab allies.

In what they called a ‘Cairo Declaration,’ they pledged to enhance cooperation and investments in the energy and transport sectors.

In a statement released after a meeting between President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Saudi Defence Minister and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Thursday, Sisi's office said the two leaders also would also work to create a joint Arab military force.

Egypt’s Foreign Minister Samih Shoukry described “solidarity” between Cairo and Riyadh as important to protecting regional security in a joint press conference with Saudi’s top diplomat Adel al-Jubeir.

"The two sides stressed the need to exert all efforts to boost security and stability in the region, and to work together to protect Arab national security," Egypt's presidential office said.

The “highly difficult regional circumstances” would require “security vigilance and extra effort,” state-owned paper al-Ahram reported Sisi as saying.

Sisi backs the use of force against armed groups in the region after the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) claimed responsibility for beheading 21 Egyptian Copts in February in Libya.

Saudi-Egyptian relations have grown closer with Riyadh emerging as a key supporter of Sisi since the then-army chief ousted Morsi two years ago, offering billions to help kick-start an economy battered by years of political turmoil.

In return, Cairo is participating in the Saudi-led campaign against Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Cairo had previously said it was also prepared to commit ground troops if required.

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