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    Egypt Will Not Abandon Its 'Sovereign Foreign Policy' Amid Row With Saudi Arabia

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    Egypt will continue its independent foreign policy, even in a difficult economic situation and despite financial aid from oil-rich Saudi Arabia, an Egyptian political analyst said.

    After Egypt recently voted for a Russian resolution on Syria in the UN Security Council, tensions have deepened between Cairo and Riyadh. Saudi Arabia actively supports the Syrian opposition and has been calling for a regime change in Syria.

    "Some in Saudi Arabia believe that financial support means that Cairo does not have an independent foreign policy. This is unacceptable. Egypt is in a difficult financial situation but it will not bargain over its sovereign policy with anybody," Hassan Nafya, political science professor at the Cairo University, told RIA Novosti.

    According to the expert, Egypt should protect its sovereignty in making decisions which should be based in its national interest and national security demands.

    "However, it seems that Saudi Arabia wants to be the only leader in the Arab world," he said.

    He added that Riyadh believes that its interests and the interests of the entire Arab world are the same thing.

    "We need a collective mechanism to jointly govern the Arab world. If a country wants to be the only leader in the region crises will repeat over and over," the expert said.

    He noted that Egypt and Saudi Arabia have different views of the Syrian settlement.

    "The Saudis have a problem with Syrian President Bashar Assad while Egypt’s concern is not Assad but the territorial integrity of Syria and creating the conditions in which the Syrian people will be able to choose the president. The resignation of Assad cannot be imposed as a precondition for the peaceful process," the professor said.

    Riyadh’s reprimands towards Cairo are a clear signal that Saudi Arabia cannot be the leader of the Arab world. They reflect the instability in the Saudi foreign strategy, especially amid the conflict in Yemen, he added.

    At the same time, Saudi political analyst Anwar Eshki argued that news about Cairo-Riyadh tensions is an "information bubble."

    According to him, Saudi Arabia does not want to "punish" Egypt, as some believe. In fact, Riyadh wants to understand why Cairo voted for both the Russian and French resolutions on Syria.

    The crisis between the two leaders of the Arab world sparked after the vote on two draft resolutions on Syria in the UN Security Council. Egypt supported both the Russian resolution rejected by the majority of votes and the French proposal vetoed by Moscow.

    Saudi Arabia intensely supports the Syrian opposition fighting the Syrian government. This is why Riyadh was outraged by Cairo voting on the Russian draft resolution.

    Later, it was reported that Saudi state-owned oil company Aramco suspended deliveries to Egypt, thus making Cairo to look for new suppliers. On Wednesday, Saudi Ambassador to Egypt Ahmed Kattan travelled to Riyadh to discuss the tensions.

    Meanwhile, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said that both resolutions were aimed at the same goals – cessation of violence and supplying of humanitarian aid. Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid stressed that Cairo supports any peaceful efforts on Syria.

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