Egypt Brotherhood MPs in Saudi mission to ease crisis (REUTERS) By Tom Perry CAIRO, EGYPT 05/02/12 3:11pm EDT)
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(Reuters) - An Egyptian parliamentary delegation including top Muslim
Brotherhood figures will head to Saudi Arabia seeking to resolve the
worst in crisis in decades between states that were close allies
under deposed leader Hosni Mubarak.
The speakers of the upper and lower house of parliament, both senior
members of the Brotherhood, will be in the delegation that the state
news agency said would meet the Saudi king on Thursday over the
crisis triggered by Riyadh´s arrest of an Egyptian lawyer and a wave
of protests that it generated.
It marks a rare visit to the kingdom by members of an influential
Islamist movement whose rise to prominence since Mubarak´s overthrow
is causing concern in the conservative monarchies of the Gulf,
A spokesman for the Brotherhood said it had been "a long time" since
any member of the group had been to Saudi Arabia in an official
capacity, but added they were going as representatives of parliament,
not the movement.
Saudi Arabia withdrew its ambassador from Egypt at the weekend and
closed its missions in the country of 80 million, citing security
concerns following the demonstrations over Ahmed el-Gezawi´s
The Saudi government has been the focus of public anger triggered by
the arrest, with Egyptians pouring criticism on what they say is the
poor treatment their compatriots often receive in the kingdom.
Egyptian activists said Gezawi had been detained for speaking out
against such ill-treatment. The Saudi authorities said he had been
Analysts say the crisis is partly rooted in Saudi concerns over the
growing influence of the Brotherhood, an Islamist movement founded in
Egypt and which has offshoots all over the Arab world.
Mubarak, who was swept from power by a mass uprising last year,
maintained an official ban on the group.
The parliamentary delegation would meet Saudi King Abdullah and other
officials, the state news agency MENA said.
"The delegation will focus on affirming the depth of the historical
and brotherly ties between the two countries ... and the need to work
to remove any misunderstanding," MENA quoted Ali Fath el-Bab, who
heads the Brotherhood majority bloc in the upper chamber, as saying.
The delegation would also discuss "the conditions and problems of
Egyptians in the kingdom in a framework that preserves the dignity of
Egyptians", he said.
The Brotherhood won nearly half the seats in parliamentary elections
that were Egypt´s most democratic in more than six decades. But it
says Riyadh has kept them at arm´s length: neither inviting its
leaders to the kingdom or taking up the group´s invitations to meet
them in Cairo. (Writing by Tom Perry Editing by Maria Golovnina) (©
Thomson Reuters 2012. 05/02/12)
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