Inter-Government spat breaks out in pilgrimage

Abdel-Rahman Hussein
2 Min Read

CAIRO: Minister of State for Legislative Councils and Legal Affairs Mofeed Shehab launched into a tirade against Egypt’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia Mohammed Qassem during the Hajj (annual pilgrimage to Mecca) over what he perceived to be inadequate support by the embassy for the official Egyptian delegation for the Hajj, which Shehab was heading.

According to Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper, Shehab criticized the embassy for their “missing role in organizing the work of the Hajj delegation .

He added: “I will recommend in the report that I plan to send to cabinet .that if direct arrangements are not reached with the Saudi authorities concerning facilitating the work procedures and movement of the delegation; then there is no need to send this delegation every year as is customary.

The confrontation occurred after members of the press queried the minister over obstacles many members of the delegations were facing during the Hajj. Shehab concurred that the questions had merit and cited the personal difficulties he faced.

The Ambassador’s response was that he had not received an official state letter informing him of the delegation’s visit and what was needed, which irked Shehab who interrupted him loudly.

The Ambassador then responded by stating that he needed the letter to officially coordinate with the Saudi authorities, adding that the “Saudi authorities do not make any exceptions during the Hajj, except for Royal guests.

The newspaper added that Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit is set to meet Egyptian ambassadors in Arab countries following Shehab’s complaints.

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