Most of us expect to come back from a trip abroad with a silly T-shirt or some salad spoons – or an STI, if you’re really unlucky. But here are the four unexpected things that King Salman came back with after his five-day trip to Egypt.
Universities and educational institutions seem to give out honours like sweets these days. Kim Jong Un got an international peace prize from the Bali-based Sukarno Education Foundation last year. Grace Mugabe has a PhD in family structures from the University of Zimbabwe.
And now King Salman has an honorary doctorate from the University of Cairo.
It usually takes us mere mortals over five years to become a doctor but apparently the Saudi king deserves the fast track for his ‘prominent contributions in serving Arabism, Islam and Muslims, his support to Egypt and its people, and a remarkable role in boosting Cairo University.’
He also came away with a bridge. This bridge will connect Saudi Arabia and Egypt. And if that wasn’t enough, the bridge will be named after him. The President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi said:
‘This historic step to connect the two continents, Africa and Asia, is a qualitative transformation that will increase trade between the two continents to unprecedented levels.’
Previous discussions around building a bridge have estimated the cost at US$3-4bn.
Guess who’ll be footing the bill.
Egypt has officially handed over two Red Sea islands, Sanafir and Tiran, to Saudi Arabia. They have been disputed for quite a while now (they were in Israeli possession in 1967).
You should never give a gift too freely otherwise people may suspect it isn’t worth anything. The decision to give up the two islands came, the cabinet announced, after of six years of studies and 11 rounds of negotiations.
Local media reported, according to the Washington Post, that eleven people were arrested in Cairo this weekend for protesting the decision to declare the islands part of Saudi territory.
The Egyptian political satirist, Bassem Youssef, thought king could have got even more freebies. If you read Arabic, we’re almost tempted to offer you a full-time job just to translate Bassem Youssef’s Twitter feed. Anyway, here’s the gist of one of his tweets:
‘Come on Pasha, an island will cost you a billion, a pyramid will cost two billion and you’ll get two statues thrown in as a gift.’