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Saudi King Abdullah makes brief stop in Egypt

Friday - 6/20/2014, 4:50pm  ET

CAIRO (AP) -- Saudi King Abdullah arrived on a brief visit to Egypt on Friday, his first since the 2011 uprising, to show support for the newly elected President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.

Egypt state TV showed his plane landing at Cairo International Airport late at night where el-Sissi received the ailing monarch upon his arrival from Morocco, where he spent time for medical rehabilitation. TV cameras showed the king crouched over a cane, greeting Egyptian officials aboard his plane after a nearly hour-long meeting with el-Sissi. The king did not leave the airplane.

The visit is Abdullah's first since the 2011 ouster of Hosni Mubarak, a close ally of both Saudi Arabia and the United States.

Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations showered Egypt with billions of dollars in aid after el-Sissi, then the army's top general, overthrew Islamist President Mohammed Morsi amid massive protests last summer. Saudi Arabia and Egypt have both declared the Muslim Brotherhood, from which Morsi hails, a terrorist organization.

Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations showered Egypt with billions of dollars in aid after el-Sissi, then the army's top general, overthrew Islamist President Mohammed Morsi amid massive protests last summer. Saudi Arabia and Egypt have both declared the Muslim Brotherhood, from which Morsi hails, a terrorist organization.

The first world leader to congratulate el-Sissi after winning last month's election was King Abdullah, who has been on the throne for nearly a decade and is almost 90. The monarch declared that the turmoil sparked by the Arab Spring should now come to a close.

"The brotherly Egyptian people have suffered during the past period of chaos. The short-sighted called it 'creative chaos,'" the king said in a letter published by the Saudi state news agency.

He called for a donors conference to help Egypt "get out of the tunnel," referring to its wrecked economy.


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