Last updated: 11 July, 2012

Egypt’s Morsi in Saudi Arabia on his first foreign trip

Egypt’s new president, Mohamed Morsi, arrived in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday for his first foreign trip since taking office and met with King Abdullah, the official SPA news agency said.

Morsi was met on his arrival in Jeddah by Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz, crown prince, deputy prime minster and defence minister.

No details were given on the subject of the talks between Morsi and Abdullah, but they had been expected to focus on the relations between the oil-rich Gulf kingdom, with its deeply conservative form of Islam, and economically struggling Egypt.

Tensions have long existed between the Gulf, where the strict Wahhabi doctrine of Sunni Islam applies, and Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, moderate Islamists who were thrust to power by the Arab Spring revolt that swept the country last year.

Under Morsi’s predecessor, the ousted Hosni Mubarak, Egypt and Saudi Arabia enjoyed close relations.

But a rare diplomatic crisis between the two regional powers in April saw Riyadh recall its ambassador in Cairo and close its embassy for several days, after protests demanding the release of a lawyer and rights activist detained in the kingdom.