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Saudi Arabia offers to support Egypt if US cuts aid

February 10, 2011 18:33 IST
Amid growing pressure on the embattled Egyptian president to quit office, Saudi Arabia has threatened to prop up Hosni Mubarak if the United States tries to force a swift change of regime in Egypt, the media reported on Thursday.

In a testy personal telephone call on January 29, Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah told United States President Barack Obama not to humiliate Mubarak and warned that he would step in to bankroll Egypt if the US withdrew its aid programme, worth $ 1.5 billion annually, The Times newspaper reported.

America's closest ally in the Gulf made clear that the Egyptian president must be allowed to stay on to oversee the transition towards peaceful democracy and then leave with dignity. "Mubarak and King Abdullah are not just allies, they are close friends, and the king is not about to see his friend cast aside and humiliated," a senior source in the Saudi capital told the newspaper.

Obama has spoken with the 86-year-old Saudi monarch about the current situation in Egypt, where the massive pro-democracy protests against Mubarak entered into its third week with no resolution in sight. "The US President emphasised the importance of taking immediate steps toward an orderly transition that is meaningful, lasting, legitimate, and responsive to the aspirations of the Egyptian people," the White House said in a statement in Washington.

The US has expressed its dissatisfaction over the steps taken by the Egyptian government to meet the demands of the pro-democracy protestors and warned that these protests are going to grow bigger unless the Mubarak regime takes some concrete steps.

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