JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia, (AFP) — Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi said he and Saudi’s King Abdullah held “fruitful” talks focused on regional stability, SPA news agency said Thursday after a late night meeting between the two leaders.
Discussions were “fruitful and constructive and in the interest of Egypt, of Saudi Arabia and of the people of the region,” Mursi told reporters in Saudi’s southern port city of Jeddah at the end of Wednesday night’s meeting.
“Everything (King Abdullah) said was in the interest of the future, of the region and of Egypt,” he said, adding that the king spoke with “wisdom and knowledge and love for the Egyptian people.”
Mursi arrived in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday for his first foreign trip since taking office and met first with King Abdullah and then with Crown Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz, who had greeted him on his arrival.
Few details were given on the talks between Mursi and Abdullah, though the Egyptian president said regional stability was a key focus of their discussions.
“The stability of the region depends on the stability of Egypt and the Gulf, at the head of which stands Saudi Arabia,” he said.
Mursi said he chose Saudi Arabia for his first official visit due to the “deep rooted and historical relationship shared between the two countries.”
Tensions have long existed between the Gulf, where the strict Wahhabi doctrine of Sunni Islam applies, and Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, moderate Islamists who were thrust to power by the Arab Spring revolt that swept the country last year.
Under Mursi’s predecessor, the ousted Hosni Mubarak, Egypt and Saudi Arabia enjoyed close relations.
But a rare diplomatic crisis between the two regional powers in April saw Riyadh recall its ambassador in Cairo and close its embassy for several days, after protests demanding the release of a lawyer and rights activist detained in the kingdom.
Mursi was expected Thursday to travel to Mecca and Medina, Islam’s two holiest cities, to perform the umra, the so-called less pilgrimage that is carried out throughout the year unlike the annual hajj which is held at a specified time each year.