King orders envoy back to Cairo

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Published: May 5, 2012 02:15 Updated: May 5, 2012 02:19

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah directed Ambassador Ahmad Al-Qattan to reopen the Kingdom’s embassy in Cairo and resume his duties on Sunday.

The king’s directive also included the reopening of the two consulates in Alexandria and Suez, the Saudi Press Agency reported quoting an official statement yesterday.

“Because of the noble and sincere feelings expressed by the delegation representing the Egyptian society toward the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and also because of the Kingdom’s reciprocal sentiments to the government and people of Egypt, King Abdullah ordered the return of the Kingdom’s ambassador to Cairo to resume his duty next Sunday and reopen the embassy and the two consulates of the Kingdom in Alexandria and Suez,” the official source said.

Ambassador Ahmad Al-Qattan was recalled for “consultation” on April 28 following “unjustified demonstrations” in front of the Saudi Embassy in Cairo and consulates in Alexandria and Suez that were threatening the security of both Saudi and Egyptian staff.

Protesters have tried to storm the missions over the arrest of an Egyptian lawyer for alleged possession of illegal drugs when he tried to enter the Kingdom.

While receiving a high profile Egyptian delegation at his palace in Riyadh yesterday, King Abdullah said, “Dear brothers, what happened recently causing damage to the relations between the two countries, is painful to any dignified Saudi or Egyptian citizen. The decisions to recall our ambassador and to close the embassy were made to protect its employees against any unacceptable outcomes.”

People’s Assembly Speaker Mohammed Al-Katatni and Shoura Council Speaker Ahmed Fahmy headed the Egyptian delegation, which arrived in Riyadh on Thursday in a bid to repair strained ties between the two countries.

“This relation between the two countries is based on the basis of admonition and not on basis of rivalry. The admonition between the brothers is a wide door that lets rationality and awareness enter in,” the king said, adding that Egypt, with its worries, wishes and aspiration is at the heart of the Kingdom.

“Our shared history is founded on the unity of the religion and mutual support to guarantee the prevalence of the right. Such a relation is neither an easy page of history to be tarnished, or disputable,” the king said.

The king also hoped that the media would try to improve the relations between the two countries instead of worsening the situation. “All my hope is that the media of Egypt and the Kingdom to take a dignified stand and speak goodness or keep quiet.”

The king concluded his speech expressing his joy at the delegation’s visit. “With this noble stand I cannot but tell you that we will not permit this passing crisis to be prolonged.”

The delegation included prominent Egyptian political leaders and representatives of various sections of that country.

During the reception, People’s Assembly Speaker Al-Katatni underscored the strong ties between the people of the two countries. “Egyptians are linked with the Saudi people with strong bonds of relationship for a long time. Any flimsy event taking place here or there cannot influence that relationship. We should sidestep those fleeting events. We should not allow them to spoil the relations between the two countries,” Al-Katatani said in his speech.

He also spoke about the Kingdom’s support to Egypt at times of difficulties such as war with Israel and the Jan. 25 revolution.

He also pointed out that the Egyptian community in the Kingdom was the largest outside Egypt and that it enjoyed great care and attention from the Saudi people and government.


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