Saudi Crown Prince Salman receives Egyptian premier Beblawi

Saudi Arabia is a major backer of Egypt’s interim government

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Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz met interim Egyptian prime minister Hazem al-Beblawi Tuesday to discuss closer cooperation, with the oil-rich Gulf monarchy being a staunch backer of his military-installed government.

The major OPEC member pledged billions of dollars in aid to Egypt’s new authorities after the overthrow of Islamist president Mohammad Mursi in July.

At their meeting in Riyadh, both leaders discussed means of “developing cooperation” between their countries as well as the “latest regional and international developments,” state news agency SPA reported.

Saudi Arabia had long seen Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood as a threat. It quickly pledged $5 billion (3.7 billion euros) in aid to the new government in Cairo, with Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates offering a combined $7 billion.

A month after Mursi’s ouster, Saudi King Abdullah pledged support for Egypt’s fight against “terrorism,” saying it was the government’s “legitimate right.”

Egypt’s authorities say they are confronting a “malicious terror plot” by Islamists and have banned the Brotherhood.

In contrast to Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, fellow Gulf state Qatar is a main backer of the Brotherhood and has condemned the terrorist designation.

Saudi investments in Egypt are estimated at $28 billion, and trade between the two countries totaled $3.2 billion in 2013, according to statistics published by the central bank in Cairo.

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