Journalist Wael El-Ebrashi has said that relations between Egypt and Saudi Arabia were at their peak during the reign of the late King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz.
In his TV show entitled 10pm, broadcast on Dream channel on Sunday evening, Al-Abrashi had a discussion over the phone with Ambassador Mohamed El-Orabi in which he said President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi hinted, during his speech to the commanders of the armed forces, top policemen and public figures, that there may have been a change in the policy of Saudi Arabia towards Egypt after King Salman Bin Abdulaziz ascended to the throne. He also pointed out that King Salman may not espouse the same level of relations as his predecessor towards Egypt.
… may be less in supporting Egypt and in supporting the relations between Egypt and Saudi Arabia than Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah,. This is the question we raise because there is no alternative to bolstering Saudi-Egyptian relations and we hope … This is a question we put forward. I shall ask it to Ambassador Mohamed El-Orabi, the former foreign minister. Mr Minister welcome.
El-Orabi: Thank you. How are you?
El-Ebrashi: Mr. Minister, do you believe… that there is here talk that the stance of the new Saudi leadership may be less [sympathetic] that the previous stance of the Saudi leadership, that is in the aftermath of the death of King Abdullah, custodian of the two holy mosques. It is true that the Saudi leadership is still adopting the slogan of supporting and backing Egypt. However, today I noticed from the speech of President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi that perhaps the upper ceiling adopted by King Abdullah may decrease a little with the coming of the new Saudi leadership. Would you say this is correct?
El-Orabi: I believe this is a premature conclusion. In politics you cannot judge a state in which there are internal changes, which I believe have been very rapid, following the death of King Abdullah and a state that has been rearranging its priorities and reorganising its house from within. You cannot simply judge its foreign policy inclinations. However, I believe that Saudi foreign policy is characterised by a great amount of stability. The degree of warmth may vary from one leader to another. Yet constancy is the main feature characterising Saudi foreign policy. This constancy is based on the notion of the stability of Saudi Arabia and its territorial integrity and its intrinsic power. These elements will certainly be derived from a state like Egypt, a strong, well established and stable state that does not reel under the impact of military or economic problems, or any other type of problems. There is an organic and strategic link between the Saudi strategy and the Egyptian strategy. Therefore, I believe these conclusions are premature. Evidently, the Saudi finance minister was with Prime Minister Mahlab yesterday at the meeting where conclusions of the economic conference were announced. I believe that was a strong signal that the support is continuing. Perhaps the tone of the discourse may change because each human being… like when you see one foreign minister replacing another… the tone of the language changes because of the different characters. But ultimately, each one serves his country in his own way. I believe that to the contrary, Saudi-Egyptian relations may grow better in the coming days in different ways. Yet, the degree of warmth in Saudi political discourse may change somehow. But this does not mean any scratch in the Saudi strategy toward Egypt.
El-Ebrashi: We hope so. Minister Muhamed El-Orabi, the former foreign minister, many thanks. As I have told you the purpose of raising this question is that there is no alternative to strong Saudi-Egyptian relations. Strong Saudi-Egyptian relations serve both countries. Let not anyone thin …. When we were in Kuwait, the clear inclination in Kuwait, and also in the United Arab Emirates, was that Egypt's strength is a source of strength for the Gulf and weakening…