Egypt hails Saudi on Brotherhood terror tag

Supporters of Muslim Brotherhood and ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi shout slogans against the military and the interior ministry as they gesture with the sign "Rabaa", or "Four", during a protest around Ain Shams square in east Cairo February 14, 2014. (Reuters)

Egypt on Friday welcomed Saudi Arabia’s decision to blacklist the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization, and called on other Arab countries to follow the Gulf state’s decision.

Egypt had already formally declared the Islamist group as a terrorist group, after 15 people were killed during a suicide attack on a police station last December.

The group had condemned the bombing and denied involvement in any violence rocking Egypt, following the ouster of former President Mohammad Mursi, who hailed from the Brotherhood.

Saudi Arabia had hailed the military-backed Mursi’s overthrow last July, and pledged billions of dollars in aid to Egypt’s interim government.

‘Depth of cooperation’

“We welcome the Saudi decision ... which shows the depth of cooperation and solidarity between the two countries,” Egypt's foreign ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty told AFP.

“We look forward to see other countries which signed the 1998 Arab League counter-terrorism treaty follow the Saudi path and respect their commitments under the treaty,” Abdelatty added.

The Saudi move further isolates and restricts the Brotherhood, which is now enlisted in the terrorist group-list along with the kingdom’s branch of Hezbollah, the Syria-based militant group the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the al-Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra Front.

The Brotherhood said Saudi Arabia’s move “pained” and “surprised” it.

“This new position [of] the kingdom contrasts sharply with the history of its relations with the Brotherhood,” the group said.

Pan-Arab movement

“History has always shown that the Brotherhood has been a leader in spreading true Islamic thinking... without extremism, as many of the kingdom's scholars and leaders can testify,” it added.

The Muslim Brotherhood has a presence in most Arab countries, making it the largest Islamic movement in the region.

Relations between Cairo and Doha have been crumbling since Mursi’s overthrow. Egypt had recalled its ambassador to Doha earlier, and announced it was not planning on sending him back to Qatar.

Saudi Arabia’s move comes only two days after Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the UAE recalled their ambassadors to Doha, following mounting tension between the Gulf states, over Qatar’s support of Islamist groups in the region, including the Brotherhood.

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Last Update: 21:23 KSA 00:23 - GMT 21:23
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