Gulf leaders tell Sisi they stand behind Egypt

Ahram Online , Monday 9 Feb 2015

Gulf leaders tell president El-Sisi in phone call strong relations will not be affected by "attempts to sow tension"

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahayan with El-Sisi
Egypt's President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi (L), talks with Abu Dhabi' Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahayan during El-Sisi' first official visit to United Arab Emirates January 17, 2015. (Photo: Reuters)

King of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait's Emir and the King of Bahrain told Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi over phone conversations on Sunday night their countries stand behind Cairo as a strategic choice, reported Al-Ahram Arabic news website.

In their first official conversation since King Salman's crowning two weeks ago, the Egyptian president thanked the Saudi royal for his support to Egypt.

The Saudi king told El-Sisi he valued strategic relations between the two countries, stressing that the kingdom's relationship with Egypt was stronger than any attempts to distort it, reported Saudi state-owned news agency SPA late Sunday.

Some media reports have suggested that the new king might deviate from the strong support late King Abdullah lent to Cairo after the ouster of Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.

Late King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia was the first Arab leader to call for a donors conference to help Egypt jump start a slumping economy. 

President El-Sisi also spoke with Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayad Al-Nahayan, the Abu Dhabi crown prince, who stressed that the supportive role of the UAE towards Egypt represented a constant historical stance that would not change. 

Meanwhile, Sheikh Al-Sabbah Ahmed Jaber Al-Sabbah, Kuwait's emir told El-Sisi that the strength of Egyptian-Kuwaiti relations could not be affected by any attempt to create tension between the two countries.

The same content was echoed in talks between Bahrain's King Hamed bin Eissa and El-Sisi. King Hamed said Bahrain would continue supporting Egypt and that the two countries would work together in order to make Egypt's economic conference in Sharm El-Sheikh a success.

Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have committed $12 billion to Egypt after the fall of the Muslim Brotherhood.

On Saturday, a private TV channel which is sympathetic to the banned Muslim Brotherhood broadcast an alleged secret recording of a conversation between president El-Sisi and his aides during his tenure as a defence minister.

The content of the alleged conversation suggests it took place in the spring of 2004, shortly before El-Sisi announced he would run for president.

In the alleged taped conversation, El-Sisi and two other top Egyptian generals bemoan the wealth of Arab Gulf states and its ruling emirs in sarcastic remarks.

The alleged secret recordings have also been broadcast on the Qatari Al Jazeera Arabic news channel.

The unauthenticated tape generated strong reactions among social media users in the Gulf who launched opposing Twitter hashtags both defending and attacking El-Sisi.

President El-Sisi's talks with the Gulf leaders come hours before Russian President Vladimir Putin starts a two-day visit to Cairo to discuss economic and military co-operation with the Egyptian president, as well as regional crises in the region.

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