Saudi King Abdullah addresses the nation from his office at the Royal Palace in Riyadh
Saudi King Abdullah addresses the nation from his office at the Royal Palace in RiyadhReuters

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has urged Egypt to support an agreement between the Gulf Arab states following months of tensions over the role of political Islamism in the region.

The long-running dispute has centred on Qatar's support for Islamist movements across the region, including the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and some factions of rebel fighters in Syria.

Doha showered Egypt's first elected President Mohamed Morsi with financial aid while his government was in office through 2012 and 2013, before he was ousted in a military backed coup if July 2013.

Following Morsi's overthrow, Qatar's fellow Gulf states Saudi Arabia and the UAE poured billions of dollars of aid into the temporary government, which embarked on a campaign of repression against the Brotherhood.

Both the Saudi and Emirati leadership perceive political Islam as a threat to their rule and they have branded the influential Egyptian Brotherhood as a terrorist group.

The Qatar-based Al-Jazeera news broadcaster has frequently been condemned by regional leaders for alleged pro-Islamist bias in its reporting.

The diplomatic spat worsened in March this year when Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain withdrew their envoys from Qatar and warned Doha not to interfere in affairs of other Arab states.

Months of Talks

Months of high-level talks followed as the Gulf neighbours sought to reach an agreement, ending with Qatar expelling Brotherhood figures that had been based in Doha.

The regional rivals will hope that their new agreement will usher in a period of stability as much of the region remains mired in chaos, but the exact details of the deal have not been made public.

The Saudi King urged Egypt to support the deal, which he said marked "new page" in relations.

"I appeal to the people and leadership of Egypt to seek with us the success of this step in the march of Arab solidarity," he said, as cited by the Saudi Press Agency.