Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah will pay a brief visit to Egypt on Friday in a show of support for its newly elected president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, two Saudi sources told Reuters on Thursday.
Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab monarchies have provided billions of dollars in aid to Egypt to stave off economic collapse since Sisi, then army chief, ousted Islamist president Mohamed Mursi last year and outlawed his Muslim Brotherhood.
Like Egypt, Saudi Arabia has branded the Brotherhood a terrorist organisation, viewing its Islamist doctrines as a threat to Saudi dynastic rule.
Abdullah, who does not often travel due to his advanced age and health concerns, will stop off in Cairo for just a few hours on his way home from a visit to Morocco, the Saudi sources said.
The king has urged Egyptians to embrace Sisi and to disown the “strange chaos” of the Arab uprisings of the past few years, which toppled Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak and other autocrats in Tunisia and Libya.
Sisi won more than 90 per cent of the vote in Egypt’s presidential election last month, though turnout was low.
Saudi Arabia regards Egypt, the most populous Arab state, as a frontline ally in its region-wide struggle against Iran as well as against the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood.