[JURIST] Egypt and Saudi Arabia signed an agreement on Thursday that will improve stability and safety in the region. The agreement [Al Arabiya report], entitled the “Cairo Declaration” and signed in Cairo by President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi [BBC profile] of Egypt and Saudi Defense Minister and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman [official profile], aims to boost military and social ties in the region, as well as improve economic stability. The relationship between the two countries has been improving since Islamist President Mohamed Morsi [BBC profile] in 2013. Saudi Arabia has in turn offered billions of dollars to aid Egypt in its joint bombing campaign with the Saudis against Yemen. The pact also sets out plans to build a new joint Arab military force to combat regional terrorism.
There has been increased tension in the Middle East since the intensifying conflict in Yemen [BBC profile] began. Last month the Obama administration sent a formal report [JURIST report] to Congress criticizing the Egyptian government for its human rights abuses and lack of movement toward democracy but still supporting sending $1.3 billion to Egypt in mostly military aid. In April Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a statement [JURIST report] denouncing as a violation of the laws of war an airstrike led by the Saudi Arabian coalition that led to the destruction of a humanitarian warehouse in Yemen earlier that month. In March Arab leaders announced [JURIST report] that a unified military force will be formed to oppose the growing threats from Yemen to Libya. The announcement came after a summit level meeting of the Council of the League of Arab States in Egypt.