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September 21, 2017

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Saudi king orders mission in Egypt reopened 1 week after angry protest

RIYADH -- Saudi King Abdullah ordered on Friday the return of the kingdom's ambassador to Egypt and the reopening of the mission after it was shut last week in the wake of angry protests, state news agency SPA said.

The king "instructed the kingdom's ambassador to Cairo to resume his post on Sunday, and ordered the reopening of the embassy and the consulates in Alexandria and Suez," SPA reported, quoting an unnamed official.

The decision was announced after the monarch received a top ranking Egyptian delegation, which arrived in the kingdom Thursday on a mission to defuse tension.

Riyadh on Saturday recalled its ambassador after angry protests outside the Saudi embassy in Cairo over the arrest of an Egyptian human rights lawyer in the Gulf kingdom, which claimed he was in possession of drugs.

King Abdullah told the delegation that the recent deterioration in relations was "painful to every honest Saudi and Egyptian citizen," adding that the kingdom's decision to shut its mission "was only to protect its staff."

He welcomed the visit by the large delegation, saying it was a source of "joy," adding that with "such an honorable position I can only say that we shall not allow this passing crisis to last long."

The delegation is headed by parliament speaker Saad al-Katatni and the head of the consultative council Ahmed Fahmi.

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