ABU DHABI // The UAE and Saudi Arabia today expressed their support for the Egyptian military’s removal of the Islamist-led government of Mohammed Morsi.
Sheikh Khalifa, President of the UAE, congratulated Egypt’s interim president Adly Al Mansour after he was sworn in today.
“We have followed with appreciation and satisfaction the national consensus that has been seen in your sisterly country, which played a prominent role in enabling Egypt to get out of its crisis in a peaceful way,” Wam news quoted Sheikh Khalifa as saying.
Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, the UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs, praised the Egyptian military for its role in the transition.
“The great Egyptian army proves, once again, that it is the strong shield and the protector that guarantees that the country is a land of institutions and law that embraces all the components of the Egyptian people.”
Saudi King Abdullah added his praise for the military and congratulated Mr Al Mansour for “assuming the leadership of Egypt at this critical point of its history”.
“We strongly shake hands with the men of all the armed forces, represented by General Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, who managed to save Egypt at this critical moment from a dark tunnel God only could apprehend its dimensions and repercussions, but the wisdom and moderation came out of those men to preserve the rights of all parties in the political process.”
Qatar, which has poured an estimated $5 billion (Dh18.4bn) into Egypt’s wavering economy since 2011 and was seen as a primary ally of Mr Morsi’s government, said it supported will of the Egyptian people and views Egypt as a leader in the Arab and Islamic world.
“Qatar will continue to respect the will of Egypt and its people across the spectrum,” Al Jazeera quoted a foreign ministry source as saying.
Kuwait and Bahrain continued to urge their citizens to leave the country, however, citing a continuing threat of unrest.
The Bahraini embassy in Cairo announced that it had evacuated “95 per cent” of its citizens in the country and was in contact with the remaining Bahrainis, according to the mission’s official Twitter feed.
The UAE and Saudi Arabia have had strained relations with Cairo since Mr Morsi’s Freedom and Justice Party came into office.
Sheikh Khalifa invited Mr Morsi to Abu Dhabi in September 2012, but tensions remained high over concerns that the Egyptian-based Muslim Brotherhood was funding organisations in the Emirates.
On Tuesday, a court sentenced 69 defendants to jail terms up to 15 years for sedition, including through membership of an organisation with believed links to the Egyptian brotherhood. Separately, 30 Emiratis and Egyptians are accused of setting up an illegal branch of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood.
Saudi Arabia attempted a similar rapprochement with Mr Morsi, whose first overseas trip was to Riyadh in July 2012. Still, relations remained cool, particularly after the Egyptian president travelled to Tehran and promised to rekindle ties with Riyadh’s rival.
Both Saudi Arabia and the UAE indicated in their statements that they could increase their ties with the new transitional government of Egypt.
“The UAE always looks to enhance its relations with the government and the people of Egypt and to work steadily for furthering strong cooperation in all fields for the mutual interest of both peoples,” Sheikh Abdullah said.
* With Reuters