© 2024 Kansas City Public Radio
NPR in Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Egypt Recalls Its Ambassador From Saudi Arabia


Egypt has made a request to Saudi Arabia. In effect: Please, send your ambassador back here to Cairo. The Saudis recalled their ambassador over the weekend, exposing tension in one of the most important relationships in the Arab world. The Saudis have the most money. Egypt has the most people.

NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports from Cairo, on what they do now.

SORAYA SARHADDI NELSON, BYLINE: Saudi Arabia said it recalled its ambassador to Egypt for consultations due to, quote, "unjustified demonstrations in front of its embassy in Cairo." The kingdom also closed its consulates in the northern Egyptian cities of Alexandria and Suez.

Hundreds of Egyptians held protests last week, demanding the release of lawyer Ahmed el Gizawi. One demonstration was captured in this video.


NELSON: Gizawi was sentenced in absentia by a Saudi court, to one year in prison and 20 lashes for defaming King Abdullah. The lawyer had filed a lawsuit against the monarch on behalf of Egyptians languishing in Saudi jails without charge. Gizawi was arrested in Saudi Arabia two weeks ago, as he arrived for a religious pilgrimage. Officials claim he was trying to smuggle anti-anxiety drugs into the kingdom.

Egypt's top military ruler called the king over the weekend to defuse the crisis. Relations between the two Arab countries haven't been this tense since 1979, when Egypt signed a peace deal with Israel.

Since the king's close ally, former President Hosni Mubarak, was forced from power, relations have again turned frosty.

Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, NPR News, Cairo. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Special correspondent Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson is based in Berlin. Her reports can be heard on NPR's award-winning programs, including Morning Edition and All Things Considered, and read at NPR.org. From 2012 until 2018 Nelson was NPR's bureau chief in Berlin. She won the ICFJ 2017 Excellence in International Reporting Award for her work in Central and Eastern Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and Afghanistan.
KCUR serves the Kansas City region with breaking news and award-winning podcasts.
Your donation helps keep nonprofit journalism free and available for everyone.