RIYADH: Saudi King Abdullah Tuesday hailed the election of Egypt’s ex-army chief Abdel Fatah al-Sisi to the presidency as a “historic day,” calling for a donors conference to help Egypt through its economic troubles.
The king, whose wealthy country is a strong ally of Egypt, said Sisi’s sweeping win with 96.9 percent of the vote represents a “historic day and a new stage for Egypt,” in a telegram published by Saudi state news agency SPA.
“To the brothers and friends of Egypt… I invite all to a donors conference… to help it overcome its economic crisis,” he said.
Riyadh pledged billions of dollars in aid to Egypt’s new authorities after the overthrow of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi last July.
Saudi Arabia had long seen Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood as a threat. After his ouster, it quickly pledged $5 billion (3.7 billion euros) in aid to Cairo, with Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates offering a combined $7 billion.
King Abdullah also urged “brothers and friends to avoid meddling in Egypt’s internal affairs,” warning that harming Egypt would amount to “harming Islam, Arabism and Saudi Arabia.”
The king could be referring to Qatar, which is suspected of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and whose relations with Saudi Arabia and most other Gulf countries have been strained.
He also urged Sisi to open up to the opposition, encouraging him to “accept the other opinion through a national dialogue with all parties whose hands have not been stained by the blood of the innocents.”