Tuesday 6 March 2018

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman invited Egypt’s Coptic Christians to visit Saudi Arabia

Copts welcome in Saudi Arabia: Egypt’s Tawadros II praises Crown Prince’s reforms

Pope Tawadros II, pope of Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church, with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the Cathedral of Abbasiya in Cairo on Monday. (AFP)

CAIRO: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman invited Egypt’s Coptic Christians to visit Saudi Arabia after a rare meeting in Cairo’s main cathedral.
Chatting with Egyptian press following the visit the head with the Egyptian church, Pope Tawadros II said: “In the name of the Coptic Orthodox church we welcome Prince Mohammed’s visit to his second country Egypt.

“Prince Mohammed spoke a lot of his affection for the Copts,” the Pope said, adding that the kingdom’s heir to the throne invited him and all Copts to visit Saudi Arabia. 
Both men stepped together through St Mark's Cathedral, in regards to what Egypt’s state news agency termed the very first tour of this type.

The visit came on the following day of the Saudi Crown Prince’s trip to Egypt - his first international visit since he has become heir to the throne.
Having a lively day, Prince Mohammed also went to Al-Azhar University, visited an area of the Suez Canal and observed a performance at the Cairo Opera House.

The beginning of the visit was marked by a combination of deals and agreements associated with investment funds and projects.

However, in addition to the vital economic agreements, the Crown Prince held significant and symbolic meetings with Egypt’s spiritual leaders.
Additionally, he met Egypt's top Islamic official, Ahmad Al-Tayyeb at Al-Azhar, the top seat of learning in Sunni Islam.

Earlier, the prince toured some of the infrastructure projects that Egypt has pushed through since El-Sisi came to power after the tumultuous years aftermath of the Arab Spring.
In Ismailia, both of them leaders went through one of several brand-new tunnels being built beneath the Suez canal. Then they boarded a boat with a red-carpeted dock as an army band played marching music, to watch the newest portion of the Suez Canal, AP reported.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman meets Pope Tawadros II, pope of Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church, at the Cathedral of Abbasiya in Cairo. (AFP)
He afterwards cut the ribbon in a ceremony to inaugurate a nearby army-built resort.
The two countries agreed late on Sunday to set up a joint $10 billion fund to develop areas of Egypt linked to the Neom project, a planned $500 billion megacity, unveiled by Prince Mohammed last year.

The Saudi Press Agency said there was “wide potential … through cooperation opportunities between the Suez Canal economic zone and Saudi Arabia's Neom future-project on the Red Sea coast.”
In the evening, El-Sisi and Prince Mohammed attended a performance of "Salem nafsak" (Surrender Yourself) at the Cairo Opera House.

The play, which was created by students, sheds light on social problems of the modern era including the impact of social media, incitement to terrorism and violence against women.
Ismail Mokhtar, head of the government’s Artistic Theatre House, said the attendance of El-Sisi and the Crown Prince was an important gesture of support for the young actors and Egyptian theatre in general.

To be a symbol of the significance afforded to the visit, images of the Egyptian president, Prince Mohammed and Saudi King Salman appear to have been posted throughout the city.
"Welcome to your second country," said one; another read "Saudi and Egypt are one hand, one nation."


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