Ali Abdullah Saleh, the ousted Yemeni president, has recently paid a secret visit to Egypt for at least one day, where he met with Egyptian officials, reported The New Arab.
Saleh’s visit to Egypt could further sour relations between Cairo and Riyadh due to Saudi Arabia’s leading role in the Arab coalition against Saleh loyalists and the Iranian-backed Houthi, according to senior Egyptian diplomatic sources.
Moreover, Saleh discussed with Egyptian officials the Yemeni crisis and how to reach solutions to be agreed on by all sides. However, Egypt maintains its opposition of the Yemeni Muslim Brotherhood-aligned Al-Islah Party, allegedly supported by Saudi Arabia.
“The sources speculated that Cairo may be moving against the alleged Saudi bid to rehabilitate al-Islah, the Muslim Brotherhood-aligned party in Yemen,” said al-Arabi al-Jadeed.
However, the sources did not identify the names or levels of Egyptian officials who met Saleh.
In fact, sanctions are imposed on Saleh’s funds and travel by the UN Security Council due to undermining the political process in Yemen.
On the other side, Yemeni Brigadier-General Murad Al-Obali, close to Saleh, wrote on his Facebook page about Saleh’s visit to Cairo: “Ali Abdullah Saleh traveled abroad during the last few days and returned back. I do not want anyone to ask me when or where he traveled.”
Two weeks ago, Saleh’s request to travel to Cuba, to offer his condolences and attend the funeral of long-time Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, had been rejected by UN Security Council.
In fact, the news has not been confirmed by any Egyptian or Yemeni official, however, if confirmed it will probably intensify the dispute between Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
The Kingdom would consider Egypt acting against the Saudi agenda within the Kingdom’s national security depth.
This will probably further strain the relations between al-Sisi and former Gulf financial supporter as the Kingdom will consider Egypt moving again against its interests in Yemen as it did before regarding the Syrian crisis.
Last October, Egypt voted in favor of a Russian-backed draft resolution in the UN Security Council on Syria, which was opposed by Saudi Arabia.
As a result, Egypt’s stance has angered Saudi Arabia which condemned Egypt’s vote and described it with the” painful” stance.
After the voting, the Saudi ambassador to the UN, Abdullah al-Mouallimi, said, “It was painful that the Senegalese and Malaysian stance was closer to the Arab’s consensus than the Egyptian delegation.”
He also said that he feels pity for these countries that voted for the Russian resolution, stressing that his country will continue backing the Syrian people by all means.
Two days following the voting, Saudi state-owned oil company Aramco announced halting oil product supply to Egypt.