Egypt's President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
RIYADH - The leaders of the Arab world's most populous state and its richest state met on Sunday to talk over joint efforts to counter Islamist militancy across the Middle East, including the turmoil now shaking Iraq.
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi
and Saudi Arabia
's King Abdullah are sworn enemies of the Muslim Brotherhood
. They see the recent success of militants in Iraq
as a threat to their stability and undermining security in the region.
Sisi's spokesman, Ehab Badawi
, said the two leaders agreed to work together promote the "true and moderate values of Islam that reject extremism and terrorism".
"President Sisi and King Abdullah also reviewed the development of the situation in Iraq
in light of the expanding of the circle of terrorism in the region," Badawi said, according to Egypt's Middle East
"There is no doubt that the meeting between the leadership of the two countries is important in light of the current circumstance of the Arab and Muslim nation," Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal
said, according to state news agency SPA.
"(There are) external wars, intervention from foreign powers, internal sedition and disputes within the Arab nation at a time when it is in utmost need for solidarity and to stand together as one man to repel the enmities," he said.
The visit is Sisi's first since his election to the presidency this year. The pair met on King Abdullah's plane in Cairo
in June, and Riyadh
regards the former Egyptian army
leader as one of its closest regional allies.
, along with Gulf Arab allies Kuwait
and the United Arab Emirates, have provided some $20 billion in aid after Sisi ousted Islamist
President Mohamed Mursi last year following mass protests against his one year in office.
King Abdullah has also called for a donor conference for Egypt
expected to take place either this year or early next year to provide further support to the most populous country in the Arab World.
has suffered a string of attacks by militants angry over the army
's ouster of Mursi and the crackdown on Islamists in the country.
U.S.-allied Saudi Arabia
, the world's largest oil exporter, is also worried by the advance of the Islamic State, previously known as the Islamic State in Iraq
(ISIL), while at the same time it is unhappy with the policies of the Shi'ite-led government of Nouri al-Maliki
it sees as being too close to arch-rival Iran.
Few details emerged from the late-night meeting at King Abdullah's Palace in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah
. State media from both countries said the talks included Egyptian efforts to broker a ceasefire in a month-long fighting between Israel
and Palestinians in the Gaza Strip
Both countries have been accused of dragging their feet in efforts to end Israeli attacks, giving the Jewish state time to destroy Hamas
, the affiliate of the Muslim Brotherhood
that controls the Gaza Strip
. Both have denied the charge.
Saudi and Egyptian media made no reference to fresh financial aid by the wealthy OPEC powerhouse
or to the planned donor conference.
But state news agency WAM of the United Arab emirates reported that UAE
Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed
flew to Saudi Arabia
on Sunday night for talks with his Saudi counterpart at the airport in Jeddah
. It gave no further details.
King Abdullah made a brief visit to Egypt
in June while flying back home from Morocco
in a move that underscored the strong support the ageing monarch was showing for the new president.