Egypt has officially announced that Saudi Arabia has indefinitely halted shipments of oil products that were part of a $23-billion aid deal with the country.
Following a visit by Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to Egypt in April, Riyadh agreed to supply Cairo with 700,000 tons of refined oil products per month for the next five years but the shipments stopped early in October.
At the time, Egyptian officials stressed that as the contract with the Saudis is still valid, the shipments will soon restart. But on Monday, Egyptian Oil Minister Tarek El Molla officially announced that the shipments had been halted indefinitely.
“They did not give us a reason,” said an oil ministry official. “They only informed the authority about halting shipments of petroleum products until further notice.”
Tensions between Saudi Arabia and Egypt increased after an Egyptian court nullified the transfer of the sovereignty of two Red Sea islands to the kingdom.
Cairo announced in April that it had reached an agreement with Riyadh to give it sovereignty over the islands, saying that they historically belonged to the kingdom as Saudis had only temporarily transferred them to Egypt in 1950, out of fear that they would be attacked by Israel.
Egypt’s reluctance to support Saudi Arabia’s war against Yemen and Cairo’s support of Russia’s stance in Syria have also had a negative effect on the two Arab country’s relations.