Saudi Arabia condemns West's plan to halt Egypt aid

20 August 2013

Saudi foreign minister says kingdom will continue to support Cairo

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal has spoken out against plans by some Western powers to review their financial aid to Egypt, saying the kingdom will continue to support the North African country.

“Concerning those who announced stopping their assistance to Egypt or threatening to stop them, the Arab and Islamic nations [are] rich with… people and capabilities and will provide a helping hand to Egypt. Our fate is one and our goal is one,” Al-Faisal said in an official statement.

His comments come as the EU held an emergency session to discuss Egypt after issuing a statement saying it would “urgently review in the coming days its relations with Egypt”. The statement added that the EU remains committed to “efforts to promote an end to violence, resumption of political dialogue and a return to the democratic process”.

The EU could suspend about €5bn ($6.6bn) in aid and loans to Egypt.

Al-Faisal went on to criticise the positions taken by international powers since the crackdown by Egypt’s military-backed interim government on protest camps on 14 August. The camps, set up by Muslim Brotherhood supporters, were established in protest at the ousting of former president Mohamed Mursi.

Most European countries and the US have condemned the use of violence used by Egypt’s security forces to clear the camps. At least 900 people, including Muslim Brotherhood supporters and members of the police and army, have been killed in the country since the crackdown. In contrast, Saudi Arabia sees the Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation and feels that the government crackdown was necessary to restore Egypt’s security.

“Regrettably, we see that the international position towards the current events in Egypt is contrary to their attitudes towards the events in Syria,” said Al-Faisal. “Where is the concern for human rights and the… carnage that takes place every day in Syria, which has led to the killing of more than 100,000 Syrians and the destruction of the whole country?”

“If these attitudes continue, we will not forget them in Saudi Arabia and they will not be forgotten by the Arab and Muslim world… we will consider them as hostile attitudes against the interests of Arab and Islamic nations and their stability,” the minister added.

He underlined the legitimacy of the 3 July military ousting of former president Mohamed Mursi as an expression of the will of the people. “The uprising of 30 million Egyptians cannot in any way be described as a military coup as military coups take place under the cover of darkness.”

Immediately following the removal of Mursi, Saudi Arabia pledged billions of dollars in aid to Egypt. Other Gulf states including the UAE and Kuwait made similar pledges.

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