by WorldTribune Staff, November 9, 2016
The rift between Egypt and Saudi Arabia appeared to widen on Nov. 8 when the Saudis indefinitely halted oil shipments to Cairo.
Saudi King Salman in April agreed to provide Egypt with 700,000 tons of refined oil products per month for five years but the shipments stopped arriving in early October amid rising political tensions.
Middle East analysts say Riyadh’s leaders have become frustrated with what they see as Egyptian President Abdul Fatah Sisi’s lack of economic reforms and his reluctance to be drawn into the conflict in Yemen.
Saudi Arabia “did not give us a reason” for stopping the shipments, an Egyptian oil ministry official told Reuters. “They only informed the authority about halting shipments of petroleum products until further notice.”
A Nov. 6 report said Egypt said would soon send a delegation to Iran to try to strike new oil deals.
Egyptian Oil Minister Tarek El Molla, however, said he was not going to Iran and an Iranian oil official later said that the report of a meeting in Teheran was “incorrect”.
Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail also said Molla was not visiting Iran and Egypt was not negotiating with Teheran over importing oil products, state newspaper al-Ahram reported.