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Saudi – Egyptian ties “strategic” – Egypt FM | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat – Commenting on the current diplomatic crisis that has erupted between Riyadh and Cairo, Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr said that the relations between Egypt and Saudi Arabia are “strategic” and too entrenched to be influenced by any passing incidents or differences. This diplomatic crisis occurred after Egyptian national Ahmed al-Gizawi was arrested by Saudi authorities upon his arrival at Jeddah airport on charges of drug smuggling. This led to protests outside the Saudi embassy in Cairo; Saudi Arabia subsequently took the decision to close its embassy and withdraw its envoy citing security concerns.

Speaking at the Egyptian Council of Ministers headquarters, the Egyptian Foreign Minister claimed that the financial aid package that Saudi Arabia had pledged to present to Egypt prior to the diplomatic spat would go ahead, adding that the Saudi ambassador will soon return to Cairo.

Answering a question about what is being said regarding the failures of Egyptian diplomats to take care of Egyptian nationals abroad, Amr confirmed that all Egyptian ambassadors and diplomats are doing their national duty in this regard, adding that the Egyptian Consul to Saudi Arabia has monitored the case of Egyptian citizen Ahmed al-Gizawi and done its duty in this regard.

The Egyptian Foreign Minister also denied that there will be any trade-offs between Egyptian nationals held in Saudi Arabia, and Saudi nationals held in Egypt.

For his part, Dr. Mohamed al-Saeed Idris, head of the Egyptian parliament’s Arab Affairs Committee [AAC] informed Asharq Al-Awsat that there have been no new developments in the al-Gizawi case, after Saudi Arabia recalled its ambassador from Cairo. He added that he expects a breakthrough to occur very soon following the intensive communication that has taken place between Cairo and Riyadh to remedy this situation.

Egyptian political parties, figures and intellectuals continue to denounce the protests that have broken out against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its leadership, viewing this as a “passing crisis” in the history of the strong bilateral relations between the two countries.

The “Free Egyptians” party warned of the danger of this diplomatic crisis between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Egypt escalating further, as this may have a negative effects on the historical relations between the two sisterly states. The “Free Egyptians” party issued a statement yesterday calling for all parties, including the Egyptian government, public and media, to exercise self-control with regards to this crisis, as well as for substantive dialogue to take place between Riyadh and Cairo in order to create an atmosphere to defuse this crisis.

Egypt’s Al-Gamaa al-Islamiya confirmed that Egyptian – Saudi relations have strong historic roots in terms of religion, language and a joint-history adding that this is characterized by a language of mutual understanding. The Egyptians have called on the al-Gizawi case to be cleared up in a clear and transparent manner, whilst also ensuring that the Saudi embassy in Cairo is provided with adequate security.

Al-Gamaa al-Islamiya issued an official statement yesterday calling on the Saudi authorities to understand that the isolated protests that have taken place outside of the Saudi embassy in Cairo do not represent the Egyptian people and authorities and that this issue must be dealt with via cooperation and legal and diplomatic coordination.

For its part, the Arab Travel Writers Union, during its conference at Marsa Alam in Egypt on Monday, called on all parties to work actively and urgently to preserve the historic relations between the people of Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Egypt’s Planning and International Cooperation Minister, Faiza Abu el-Naga, told the press on Sunday that “the current crisis between Egypt and Saudi Arabia will be contained, given the solid relations between the two countries which transcend any problem.”

For his part, Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby – who is a former Egyptian Foreign minister – also attempted to defuse the tension between Egypt and Saudi Arabia, describing the diplomatic crisis as “a passing cloud.”