Saudi Arabia, Egypt hold Riyadh summit to strengthen ties

Sisi was welcomed by the Saudi monarch upon arrival at King Salman airbase airport in Riyadh, the official SPA news agency reported.

In a key move, King Salman restored financial allowances for civil servants and military personnel slashed 20 percent last September as the kingdom sought to save money at a time of low oil prices.

The Saudi central bank governor also told state-run TV on Saturday that the kingdom's foreign currency reserves were healthy, representing 80 percent of GDP, and that the country's trade deficit could drop this year amid a decline in imports.

Saudi Arabia also suspended all memoranda of understanding and agreements signed with Sisi during Salman's visit to Cairo in April 2016.

Saudi leaders felt Obama was reluctant to get involved in the civil war in Syria and was tilting toward Riyadh's regional rival Iran.

Egyptian president heads to Riyadh for meeting aimed at "bolstering strategic relations" between the two powers. Saudi Arabia was quick to praise Trump's missile strike on a Syrian military base in response to an apparent chemical weapons attack on civilians.

Prince Khaled, the new ambassador, is an air force pilot who flew missions as part of that anti-Daesh coalition, said Salman Al Ansari, president of the Saudi American Public Relation Affairs Committee.

The Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya news website says the prince studied briefly at Harvard University and Georgetown University. He's also scrapped cuts made previous year to state employees' pay, prompted by oil revenue falls. The U.S. already is helping the Saudis with intelligence and logistical support for the bombing campaign in Yemen, and could assist with greater intelligence support to counter Iranian influence there.

Minister of Communication and Information Technology Mohammed Al Suwaiyel also lost his job, replaced by Abdullah Al Swaha.

  • Joey Payne