Saudi king urges Egypt to back Gulf accord

AP News
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Posted: Nov 19, 2014 8:15 AM

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah on Wednesday called on regional ally Egypt to back a reconciliation agreement reached between Gulf states and Qatar following months of tensions linked to last year's military overthrow of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi.

The diplomatic spat was spurred by Qatar's support for Islamist movements across the region, particularly Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood group. Qatar gave billions of dollars in aid to Morsi's Brotherhood-backed government before it was overthrown amid massive protests against his yearlong rule. After Morsi's overthrow, the other Gulf states pledged billions of dollars to the military-backed government.

The UAE and Saudi Arabia perceive the Brotherhood as a threat because of its political activism. Both countries, as well as Egypt's new leadership, have branded the 86-year-old organization a "terrorist group."

Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain withdrew their ambassadors from Qatar in March after Egypt recalled its envoy. The three Gulf nations had warned Qatar to stop interfering in the affairs of Arab states. Qatar has long been accused of using the Doha-based Al-Jazeera news network as a mouthpiece for the Muslim Brotherhood.

Following several rounds of high-level talks and months of pressure, Qatar expelled top Brotherhood figures who had been based there.

In his first public comments since reaching the accord with Qatar, King Abdullah asked that Egypt support the agreement, which he hailed as "a new page" in relations.

"I appeal to the people and leadership of Egypt to seek with us the success of this step in the march of Arab solidarity," he said in remarks carried by the Saudi Press Agency.

He said his country fully supported Egypt in the Gulf agreement with Qatar. Details of the agreement, which also involved Kuwait, the UAE and Bahrain, have not been made public.

Abdullah said that his country was keen to resolve the dispute in the face of challenges facing Arab and Muslim nations.

The Saudi ambassador returned to Qatar on Tuesday.