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Saudi king, Egypt's Sisi discuss regional crises


A handout picture released by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) shows Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud handing Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (L) a royal certificate after decorating him on August 10, 2014 with the King Abdul Aziz Necklace, the most prestegeous medal in the desert kingdom, during their meeting in the Red Sea port of Jeddah on August 10, 2014. The Saudi monarch discussed developments in Syria, Iraq, Gaza and Libya with Sisi who is on his first visit to his regime's powerful ally since winning May elections. Photo - AFP

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia discussed developments in Syria, Iraq, Gaza and Libya with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, during Sisi's first visit to his regime's powerful ally since winning May elections.

Sisi flew to the Red Sea city of Jeddah late on Sunday and held talks with King Abdullah before carrying out the lesser umra pilgrimage in the holy Muslim city of Mecca, the official SPA news agency reported.

"This meeting between the two countries' leaderships is important in light of the circumstances facing Arab and Muslim nations," SPA news agency quoted Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal as saying on the sidelines of the late Sunday mini-summit.

Faisal hoped their meeting "could help resolve the Arab world's problems" such as the difficulties facing "Palestinians and Syrians as well as the sedition in Iraq and differences in Libya."
 
SPA reported that King Abdullah discussed "ongoing efforts to end the Israeli aggression on Gaza" Strip with Sisi, whose country is hosting talks aimed at a durable end to a month-long conflict between Palestinian militants and Israel that has wreaked devastating bloodshed.

They also discussed "means of strengthening cooperation between" Cairo and Riyadh, that has given billions of dollars in aid to Egypt to help kick-start its battered economy after the military, then headed by Sisi, overthrew Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July last year.

Sisi's government has cracked down on supporters of Morsi, Egypt's first democratically-elected president, killing 1,400 people in street clashes, and jailing some 16,000 Islamists and protesters.

Meanwhile, Emirati foreign minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayan also flew to Jeddah late on Sunday and he held talks with Faisal.

Like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates has also staunchly backed Sisi politically and financially.
Saudi Arabia has designated the Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood as a "terrorist" organisation and the UAE has cracked down on Islamist activists on its soil.

In an interview in May, Sisi said aid from the Gulf monarchies amounted to $20 billion.

Gas-rich Qatar, accused of backing the Muslim Brotherhood, was the only Gulf country to support Morsi and its relations with Saudi Arabia and most of its other Gulf neighbours in the region have been strained since then.

In an obvious gesture of support, King Abdullah was on June 20 the first head of state to visit Cairo upon Sisi's election victory.

On Tuesday, Sisi will travel to Russia which gave him its backing for presidency when he isited in February as Egypt's army chief.

He negotiated an arms deal with Moscow amid strained ties with Washington, which froze its annual aid to Cairo following its brutal crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood.

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