Performers raise their swords in front of a portrait of Saudi King Abdullah
Performers in front of a portrait of Saudi King Abdullah (Reuters)

Saudi Arabia's foreign minister has said that Arab countries are ready to jump in to help Egypt should Western nations cut aid to Cairo over the army's bloody crackdown on Islamist pro-Morsi supporters.

European Union foreign ministers are to hold an emergency meeting on Wednesday to decide further steps in the aftermath of the violence in Egypt that has left nearly 1,000 people dead.

European countries are a major source of aid, loans, business and tourists for Egypt, as well as military supplies. Together, they are the country's biggest trading partner

The EU last year pledged €5bn in loans and aid for Egypt but this flow may be stopped after deadly clashes between security forces and supporters of ousted president Mohammed Morsi.

Saudi Arabia, which has backed the coup, has sent field hospitals and words of support for Egypt's fight against "terrorism and extremism" and said it would make up any losses in Western aid.

"To those who have announced they are cutting their aid to Egypt, or threatening to do that, [we say that] Arab and Muslim nations are rich and will not hesitate to help Egypt," foreign minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said.

King Abdullah said that what was happening in Egypt was the business of Arab countries only.

"Let it be known to those who interfered in Egypt's internal affairs that they themselves are fanning the fire of sedition and are promoting the terrorism which they call for fighting," he said.

After the popular uprising of 2011 in Egypt which brought down president Hosni Mubarak, Saudi Arabia was angered by US backing his fall. The perception that the US had abandoned him pushed the Saudis to send troops to curb another uprising in neighbouring Bahrain.

The Saudi government said it was sending three field hospitals to Egypt to stand by "and supporting the brotherly Egyptian people".

Saudi Arabia and the fellow Gulf monarchies of Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates have pledged $12bn in aid to Egypt to signal support of the coup.