A picture released by the Egyptian Presidency on July 7, 2014 shows President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi giving a speech in Cairo
A picture released by the Egyptian Presidency on July 7, 2014 shows President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi giving a speech in Cairo © - - Egyptian Presidency/AFP/File
A picture released by the Egyptian Presidency on July 7, 2014 shows President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi giving a speech in Cairo
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AFP
Last updated: August 10, 2014

Egypt's Sisi in Saudi ahead of Russia trip

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was in Saudi Arabia Sunday and will visit Russia Tuesday, in his first trips to both countries since winning a landslide election victory in May.

Sisi flew to Jeddah for talks with King Abdullah, and the official Saudi SPA news agency said he was welcomed on arrival by Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal.

Riyadh has been a key supporter of Egypt's new authorities installed since Egypt's military, then headed by Sisi, overthrew Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July last year.

Oil-rich Saudi Arabia has since given billions of dollars in aid to Cairo to help kick-start its battered economy.

Sisi had visited Moscow in February when he was still Egypt's army chief and negotiated an arms deal amid strained ties with Washington, which had frozen its annual aid to Cairo following its brutal crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood.

During that visit, Moscow gave Sisi its backing for Egypt's presidency.

He was sworn in as president on June 8 after his resounding election victory the previous month.

"President Sisi will pay a short visit to Russia on Tuesday following an invitation by Russian President Vladimir Putin," a government statement said on Sunday, without specifying the duration of the visit.

It was also unclear whether he will head straight to Russia from Saudi Arabia.

The former Soviet Union was a key supplier of arms to Egypt in the 1960s and 1970s, but their cooperation subsequently dipped as Washington offered Cairo generous aid after its peace treaty with Israel in 1979.

Ties between US President Barack Obama's administration and Egypt became strained after the army toppled Morsi last year and then cracked down on his supporters, leaving more than 1,400 people dead and upwards of 15,000 jailed.

However, Washington did release a significant part of its annual aid to Cairo in June.

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