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Saudi king meets Egypt's Sisi in Cairo

21 june 2014, 20:49
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Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (L) meeting with Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud. ©AFP
Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (L) meeting with Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud. ©AFP

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah visited Cairo, on his first trip to Egypt since the 2011 ouster of dictator Hosni Mubarak, for talks with President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, AFP reports.

Riyadh hailed last July's ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi by ex-army chief Sisi and has pledged billions of dollars in aid to Egypt's military-installed authorities.

Sisi boarded Abdullah's plane on the tarmac at Cairo airport for their hour-long meeting.

State news agency MENA said Sisi "thanked the king for the significant support recently given by Saudi Arabia to Egypt".

The pair discussed a "Friends of Egypt" conference proposed by Riyadh to garner economic support for Egypt, as well as the unrest in Syria, Iraq and Libya, MENA said.

Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab and other members of the government were present for King Abdullah's arrival, with tight security ahead of the brief visit, airport sources said.

Following the talks, the Saudi monarch's aircraft left for home.

Sayyed Amin Shalabi of the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs think tank called the king's visit highly symbolic.

It was the first by a head of state since Sisi's election victory, and shows Riyadh's "political support for Egypt, as well as its economic and financial backing," Chalabi said.

Sisi won Egypt's May 26-28 presidential election after retiring from the army.

After Morsi's ouster, Riyadh quickly pledged $5 billion (3.7 billion euros) in aid to Cairo, with Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates offering a combined $7 billion.

Saudi Arabia had long seen Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood as a threat and has declared it a "terrorist" organisation, months after Egypt itself blacklisted the group.

Since Morsi's ouster, a government crackdown on his supporters has left more than 1,400 killed people and at least 15,000 jailed.


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