Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi welcomes Saudi King Salman upon his arrival at the Cairo International Airport, Apr. 7, 2016. Photo provided by the Egyptian presidency.
CAIRO, June 1 (Aswat Masriya) – Egypt’s International Cooperation Minister Sahar Nasr said on Wednesday that the Egyptian government has received $500 million, the first batch of a $2.5 billion grant.
The agreement on the grant was reached during King Salman’s visit to Cairo in April with the aim of strengthening Egypt’s economy, the cabinet announced on Thursday. The grant agreement, however, was not announced at the time of the visit.
Nasr confirmed to Aswat Masriya the receipt of the first batch of the grant, but did not elaborate further on the timing of the upcoming batches.
During King Salman’s visit to Egypt, a number of agreements were struck between the two countries amounting to $25 billion.
However, the visit’s financial and economics outcomes were overshadowed by another agreement announced by the end of the visit.
Egypt and Saudi Arabia signed a maritime border agreement that has stipulated that the strategic Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir fall within Saudi Arabia's territorial waters, the Egyptian cabinet said in a statement then.
The two islands are strategically significant as both islands control the maritime traffic from the Gulf of Aqaba, as they are both located at the mouth of the gulf and can close maritime activity in the direction of the gulf.
Egypt’s cabinet considered the agreement an "achievement", however many Egyptians have criticised the deal, accusing President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of "selling" Egyptian land.
Lawyers filed a lawsuit against the agreement, in an attempt to nullify it.
Egypt has enjoyed the support of Saudi Arabia, as well as of Gulf neighbours Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, since the military ouster of former President Mohammed Mursi in July 2013 after mass protests against his rule.