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Is Egypt-Saudi love affair on the rocks?

While some in Saudi Arabia are furious after the grand imam of Egypt’s Al-Azhar spoke at a Chechen conference that condemned Riyadh, others argue that ties between the two are stronger than ever.
Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz (C-L) walks with Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi during a welcoming ceremony upon al-Sisi's arrival to attend the Summit of South American-Arab Countries, in Riyadh November 10, 2015. REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY      - RTS6BGC

CAIRO — Egypt’s Al-Azhar has tried to distance itself from an Islamic conference held in the Chechen capital late last month, after the forum’s closing statement received sharp criticism for implying that Salafist and Wahhabi groups, which are prominent in Saudi Arabia, were not part of Sunni Islam.

The conference — held in Grozny Aug. 25-27 under the title “Who are the Sunnis?” — was attended by Al-Azhar Grand Imam Ahmed al-Tayeb and a large Egyptian delegation. While Al-Azhar officials have downplayed their role in the conference, the consequences of what happened are still unclear, particularly concerning its impact on relations between Cairo and Riyadh. The latter has been a prominent supporter of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi since the June 30, 2013, revolution.

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