Saudi Pledges $1.5bn For Egypt’s Unstable Sinai Peninsula

Saudi Arabia on 20 March pledged more support for its ailing neighbor Egypt, extending a $1.5bn loan to finance development projects on the Sinai Peninsula.

The new aid package from Egypt’s key GCC donor comes under agreements signed at the Egyptian Saudi Coordination Council (ESCC) meeting in Riyadh on 20 March. The $1.5bn Saudi Development Fund loan will finance projects being developed by Egypt’s armed forces in North and South Sinai governorates.

These will help “to eliminate extremism and terrorism” by providing job opportunities for residents of the jihadist-infested region, Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation Sahar Nasr says.

Development of the Sinai Peninsula will not be an easy task, given the presence of jihadists and also Muslim Brotherhood supporters of ex-president Muhammad Mursi, with remote desert areas used as a base to launch attacks on Egyptian army patrols and other government facilities. Last week 15 policemen were killed in an attack on a police checkpoint in the area claimed by Islamic State. (CONTINUED - 314 WORDS)