El-Sisi discusses mutual ties, militancy with Saudi intelligence head

Ahram Online , Thursday 4 Dec 2014

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and Saudi spy chief discuss mutual ties, militancy during talks in Cairo

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi speaks during an interview with Reuters in Cairo May 14, 2014, ahead of presidential elections. (Photo: Reuters)

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi discussed on Wednesday mutual ties and regional developments with Saudi Arabia's head of intelligence, Prince Khaled Bin Bandar, during talks in Cairo.

Both leaders looked at regional developments, including the situation in Syria and Iraq, where Islamic State militant fighters have seized large territories, presidential spokesperson Alaa Youssef said.

Egypt's long-standing regional ally, Saudi Arabia, along with other Gulf countries, provided over $12 billion in aid to Egypt following the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi last year to help prop up its ailing economy. Riyadh has staunchly supported the country's new authorities.

The oil-rich country views the Islamist doctrine of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood group as a threat to its dynastic rule and has recently joined Egypt in branding the movement a terrorist organisation.

The pair emphasised on Wednesday the need for joint work by Arab and Islamic states to rectify "the real image of Islam" and put right its rejection of violence and extremism.

Both states have expressed fears of a spillover of militancy in the wider region.

Meanwhile, the head of Al-Azhar, the highest seat of Sunni Islamic learning, condemned on Wednesday, during an international conference in Cairo, "barbaric crimes" committed by Islamic State, and called on a US-led coalition fighting the group "to confront countries who support terrorism financially and militarily."

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