Creating new perspectives since 2009

Egypt President Sisi denies dispute with Saudi Arabia, warns against online 'sedition'

February 12, 2023 at 8:54 am

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi [İmtiyaz Khan/Anadolu Agency]

Egypt’s president has denied the existence of any conflict with Saudi Arabia, warning against stirring up “sedition” on social media and news outlets.

Speaking at the inauguration of an industrial project on Thursday, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi stated that “Egypt’s policy has always been characterised by moderation, balance and strict discipline towards everyone at home and abroad.”

The president revealed that “I follow social media, and sometimes I see excessive enthusiasm. I do not want to say any offenses.” He clarified that rather than talking of internal or domestic issues, he was referring to “issues related to our relationship with our brothers,” stressing that “it is something that must be carefully paid attention to because it reflects the extent of our understanding and appreciation of relations with our brothers.”

Although he did not mention Saudi Arabia directly by name, his comments came after controversial posts and articles by Egyptian and Saudi writers across social media led to speculation of a growing political dispute between Cairo and Riyadh.

OPINION: Has Saudi Arabia abandoned the Sisi regime?

Egypt’s state-owned Al-Gomhuria newspaper also published a seemingly insulting article written by its editor-in-chief, Abdel-Razek Tawfiq, which was interpreted by many as a criticism or attack on Saudi Arabia, despite not directly mentioning the kingdom.

After deleting that article, the newspaper then published another article by Tawfiq titled ‘Cairo and Riyadh…the beating heart of the Arab world’, in which he highlighted the “appreciation, respect, and pride in the relationship between Egypt and its sister Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

Proponents and supporters of the Sisi government passed the issue off as a result of social media controversy, such as Egyptian MP and journalist Mostafa Bakri, who claimed there is no breakdown in Saudi-Egyptian relations and that it was simply a “media war on social media, which sought to harm the relationship between the two countries.”