DHAKA : Saudi Arabia said on Saturday has recalled its ambassador in Cairo for security reasons after protests in Egypt against the kingdom`s arrest of an Egyptian lawyer, marking a diplomatic rupture between the long-time allies.
The withdrawal of the Saudi envoy appeared a sharp message to Egypt`s rulers of the need to maintain good ties with a Gulf state that last week agreed to send $2.7 billion to support Cairo`s battered finances.
Strong ties between Riyadh and Cairo had already been strained by the upheaval in Egypt that overthrew its president Hosni Mubarak, who was close to the Saudi leadership.
The rising power of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt has also worried many in the Gulf who fear the spread of the Islamist group`s influence.
Protests against the April 17 arrest of Ahmed El-Gezawi have grown in recent days, culminating in a demonstration of close to a thousand people at the Saudi embassy in Cairo on Friday during which protesters hurled insults at the kingdom`s rulers.
Saudi Arabia`s official SPA news agency quoted an unidentified source as saying the protests were unjustified and that attempts had been made to storm the embassy, threatening the safety of its employees.
Egypt`s ruling military sought to contain the fall-out from what it said was a surprise move by Saudi Arabia. Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, head of the military council, called the authorities in Riyadh to "heal the rift" while the Egyptian cabinet stressed Egypt`s "love and respect" for Saudi Arabia.
BDST: 0945 HRS, APR 29, 2012
Edited by: Shahin Afroz, Newsroom Editor
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