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Saudi diplomat meets with Egyptian presidential hopeful El-Awa

After meetings with Morsi, Abul-Fotouh and El-Awa, Saudi ambassador downplays claims that his country is pushing for Islamist president of Egypt

Ahram Online, Thursday 17 May 2012
Mohamed Selim El Awa and Ahmed Al Qatta
Presidential Contender Mohamed Selim El Awa and Saudi Ambassador Ahmed Al Qatta. (Photo: Saudi Embassy)
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Saudi Arabian ambassador to Egypt Ahmed Al-Qattan met Islamist-leaning Egyptian presidential contender Mohamed Selim El-Awa on Thursday.

According to a press statement released by the Saudi embassy, Al-Qattan and El-Awa "held friendly discussions about ways of strengthening the two countries' bilateral relationship in various fields."

On Saturday, Al-Qattan also met with Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi. And on Monday, the ambassador held a meeting with renegade Islamist candidate Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh.

In a press release, the Saudi embassy stressed that the oil-rich kingdom "stands at an equal distance from all Egyptian presidential candidates."

Al-Qattan, for his part, noted on Saturday that Saudi Arabia doesn't support any particular candidate, rejecting allegations that his country was pushing for an Islamist president of Egypt.

To date, however, the ambassador has only met with Islamist-leaning presidential contenders.

Egypt's first post-Mubarak presidential poll will be held on 23 and 24 May, with a runoff round on 16 and 17 June if no single candidate wins an outright majority. Egypt's next president will be formally named on 21 June.

Tensions between Egypt and Saudi Arabia escalated last month following reports that an Egyptian lawyer had been sentenced to one year in prison for defaming the Saudi monarch.

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