Saudi leader kicks off regional tour in Egypt

CAIRO — The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah on Wednesday met Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in the Red Sea resort of Sharm El Shaikh as part of a regional tour that takes him to Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.

By (AFP)

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Published: Thu 29 Jul 2010, 8:36 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 7:49 AM

Mubarak and the Saudi monarch “held one on one talks that lasted around one hour,” the official MENA news agency said, without elaborating on the talks.

King Abdullah will spend the night in Egypt before heading to Damascus on Thursday for talks with Syrian leader Bashal al-Assad, and on to Beirut on Friday for talks with Lebanese leaders.

The tour is widely seen as an attempt to consolidate regional powers amid fears of a new conflict in Lebanon following last week’s announcement by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah that the UN tribunal probing ex-premier Rafiq Hariri’s murder was set to indict Hezbollah members.

The announcement sparked fears of sectarian conflict between Lebanon’s Saudi-backed Sunnis and its Shiites supported by Syria and Iran.

Abdullah will be joined in Beirut by Assad—his first visit to Lebanon since Hariri’s assassination in 2005, for which Syria was widely blamed.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul-Gheit said before the Egyptian-Saudi summit that his country had a “deep interest in protecting Lebanon against any threat to its stability,” the official MENA news agency reported.

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