Saudi king hails victory for Egypt's new president
Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz has hailed the victory of Egypt’s former army chief Abdel Fatah al-Sisi in the African country’s presidential election, urging the holding of a conference to help provide financial donations to the Egyptian government.
The Saudi monarch, whose oil-rich Persian Gulf state has established a strong alliance with Egypt’s military-installed interim government, said in a message that Sisi’s landslide victory with 96.9 percent of the votes represents a “historic day and a new stage for Egypt,” Saudi state news agency SPA reported.
“To the brothers and friends of Egypt... I invite all to a donors conference... to help it overcome its economic crisis,” King Abdullah reportedly said in the message.
Riyadh pledged billions of dollars in financial and fuel assistance to Egypt’s military-led authorities following the overthrow of the country’s first freely-elected President Mohamed Morsi on July 3, 2013.
Saudi rulers have long considered Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood as a threat to the monarchy. After the forced ouster of Brotherhood-affiliated Morsi, Riyadh quickly pledged $5 billion in aid to Cairo, with allied Persian Gulf Arab regimes of Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates adding a combined $7 billion to salvage Egypt’s near-bankrupt economy.
King Abdullah also urged “brothers and friends to avoid meddling in Egypt’s internal affairs,” claiming that harming Egypt’s military-led government is tantamount to “harming Islam, Arabism and Saudi Arabia.” The Saudi monarch could be referring to Qatar, which is suspected of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and whose relations with Saudi Arabia and most other Persian Gulf Arab rulers have been strained.
King Abdullah further urged Sisi to open up to the opposition, urging the former military strongman to “accept the other opinion through a national dialogue with all parties whose hands have not been stained by the blood of the innocents.”