CAIRO — Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak vowed Saturday to defend Saudi Arabia and other Arab states against any further Iraqi aggression and blasted pro-Iraqi states for accusing Cairo of trying to profit from its pro-Kuwait stance.
In a three-hour address at the opening session of Egypt's newly elected Parliament, Mubarak said his country's hard-line stand against the Aug. 2 Iraqi invasion of the oil-rich emirate is based solely on principle.
"Egypt was never a state that traded with stands or lived on the flesh of others, but will remain a protector of its principles and values that call for just peace," he said.
Mubarak was one of the first Arab leaders to deploy troops to Saudi Arabia following the invasion and has been rewarded by Washington and the kingdom through debt writeoffs and grants to help its troubled economy. U.S. and Saudi officials have said the aid was to help Egypt offset losses caused by the crisis.
"It was natural to respond to the appeal of the sisterly Saudi Arab kingdom and send two divisions to participate in defending this country," Mubarak told the newly elected legislators, the vast majority of whom belong to his ruling National Democratic Party.
"We will remain, God willing, faithful to this promise to the Saudi people and all Arab people in the region whatever the dangers," Mubarak said.
Mubarak, a staunch supporter of the U.S.-led buildup in the region, has sent about 20,000 troops to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.