حفلة 2024

Ahmed Qattan: Saudi-Egyptian Crisis Fabricated

The recent crisis between Saudi Arabia and Egypt over the arrest of an Egyptian lawyer for drug possession was fabricated, Saudi ambassador to Cairo Ahmed Abdul Aziz Qattan said, stressing that it will not affect future ties between the two countries. 

“This incident cannot in any way be compared to the 1979 crisis when diplomatic ties were severed,” Qattan told Al Arabiya, in reference to a rift between both countries over Egypt’s signing of the peace treaty with Israel during the rule of late president Anwar Al Sadat.

According to Qattan, the problem started after the wife of lawyer Ahmed al-Gizawi, who was arrested at the Jeddah Airport, fabricated a story about different reasons for his detention turning the issue into a diplomatic standoff.

“I am sure foreign powers who want to create a rift between the two countries were also involved and were the main instigators of this problem.” 

The escalation of the incident, Qattan explained, was due to the way several media platforms communicated the story to national audiences.

“Many journalists fell into the trap, believing the story from Gizawi’s spouse and that was how people received it,” said Qattan.

The peak of the crisis, he added, was the reaction of the people to Gizawi’s arrest and their decision to call for his release in front of the Saudi embassy in Cairo.

“The protests were not civilized and protestors insulted the kingdom and the king.”

Qattan added that he felt Saudi diplomats in Egypt were in danger and the best way to keep them safe and maintain the ties between the two countries was for them to go back to Saudi Arabia until things are calmed down.

However, the unrest that resulted from Gizawi’s arrest, Qattan noted, did have a positive side to it, in that it showed how popular Saudi Arabia is among Egyptians.

“If Egypt’s population is 85 million then 84.99 of them love Saudi Arabia and the Saudi people. The others who caused the rift are just a minority that does not represent the Egyptian people.”

On the topic of Egyptian prisoners in Saudi Arabia, an issue protested against by many Egyptians who claim prisoner mistreatment, Qattan said that they are detained on various charges but not for political reasons.

“Some of them are guilty of involvement in terrorist operations and activities that jeopardize the security of the kingdom. This is a red line.”

As for Gizawi’s case, Qattan said the trial will continue for 15 days and the verdict will be in accordance with the charges.

Meanwhile, Qattan denied allegations that Gulf nations are concerned about the Arab Spring reaching their territories and that they supported former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. 

“Saudi Arabia was the first country to present a comprehensive economic program to Egypt and the revolution was the result of years of repression and injustice.”

He also denied that the kingdom is supporting any of the Egyptian presidential candidates financially.

“The kingdom does not involve itself in those matters and will never support one of the candidates secretly.”

Qattan, however, expressed his respect for former Arab League secretary general and current presidential candidate Amr Moussa.

“Moussa is an excellent statesman. Many commentators have attacked him after the bonus he received from the Arab League and some even said that it was Saudi Arabia that gave him this money, but this is not true.”

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