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Arab League official praises Saudi stance on Egypt - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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An Egyptian soldier is seen manning an armoured personnel carrier (APC) outside the Egyptian Constitutional Court in Cairo on August 19, 2013. AFP PHOTO/KHALED DESOUKI

An Egyptian soldier is seen manning an armored personnel carrier (APC) outside the Egyptian Constitutional Court in Cairo on August 19, 2013. (AFP PHOTO/KHALED DESOUKI)

Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat—Leading figures in the Arab League and the Egyptian Salvation Front expressed their appreciation on Monday for the support offered by Saudi Arabia and the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, to Egypt during the ongoing crisis.

Deputy Arab League chief Ahmed Ben Hilli told Asharq Al-Awsat that “solidarity with Egypt provided an Arab security umbrella.” The Salvation Front stressed the importance of the Saudi stance on Egypt and its support for the Egyptian state.

Ben Hilli also praised moves by Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal, who supported Egyptian diplomacy ahead of the EU meetings in Brussels through his visit to Paris. In a meeting with French president François Hollande on Sunday, the Prince stressed that the Egyptian government should be given a chance to implement its road map and restore stability.

Ben Hilli added: “I imagine that Western positions will not be very supportive of Egypt.”

Saying that Arab support for Egypt will aid joint Arab cooperation, he added that the Arab world “must benefit from, and strengthen, the spirit shown in the Saudi position. . . . Arab leaders are called upon to be supportive and aware of this dimension, because it is what guarantees security in the region—and for the Arab nation—at both national and collective levels.”

The deputy secretary-general said that the Arab League was preparing for an Arab ministerial meeting, to be held on September 3–4, which will focus on the general Arab situation. The agenda will likely start with Egypt and include Lebanon and Syria, and also Palestine in light of the recent resumption of Palestinian–Israeli peace negotiations.

Preparations are also being made for an Arab–African Summit, in addition to general international diplomacy to explain the Arab position and the events in the Arab region, he said.

Regarding the Arab countries’ stance on Egypt, Ben Hilli said all Arab states had expressed support for Egypt and that none of them had talked about recent events there as a “coup.” He stressed that all Arab countries had responded positively to the statement issued by the Arab League calling for all countries to embody the spirit of Arab solidarity by standing with Egypt in this difficult time in order to help stabilize and strengthen it.

For his part, Azzazi Ali Azzazi, a leading member of the Egyptian National Salvation Front and former governor of the Sharqiyah Governorate in the Nile Delta, expressed appreciation for the Saudi position on Egypt and gratitude for the support it and other Arab states have given Cairo.

Magdi Sharabiyah, the secretary-general of the Egypt Rally Party and a leading member of the Salvation Front, told Asharq Al-Awsat that Saudi Arabia clearly understood that any problems faced by Egypt would have repercussions on the Arab region as a whole.

Sharabiyah added that it was obvious from his speech that King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz was acutely aware of the nature of the situation in Egypt, and that the interests of Saudi Arabia were the same as the interests of the ordinary Egyptian people.