Saudi crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman kicked off his maiden foreign trip as the kingdom’s crown prince in which he is set to visit three countries.
In the first leg of the trip, the crown prince arrived in Cairo where he received a lavish welcome. As soon as his aircraft entered the country’s airspace, Egyptian fighter jets escorted his plane. The gesture is considered to be a sign of respect.
Maj. Gen. Hisham al-Halabi, advisor at the Nasser Military Academy and a member of the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs said the welcome gesture was not part of the official protocol but was “an expression of the great appreciation for an important guest visiting the country, in recognition of his place in Egypt and its people.”
“It signifies a message from Egypt and the Egyptian armed forces to the prince that he is welcome in both in the skies and on land,” he added.
Upon his arrival at the airport, a red carpet was rolled out and he was greeted by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
At the start of the trip and just hours after arriving, the two countries inked a $10 billion joint fund to develop a planned mega-city.
Mohammed bin Salman’s visit also comes at a crucial time as Egyptian presidential elections are just weeks away where Sisi is seeking a second term.
Following the three-day visit to Cairo, in the second leg of the trip, the Saudi prince will head to Britain where he will meet Prime Minister Theresa May and then to the United States.