Update: Saudi ambassador to return to Egypt on Saturday, embassy to double efforts

Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Egypt will return to Cairo on Saturday, the Saudi embassy said in a statement, after he was recalled in a rare diplomatic row between the long-time allies.

Ambassador Ahmed al-Qattan was withdrawn almost a week ago in response to street protests in Cairo against the arrest of an Egyptian lawyer in the Gulf kingdom.

The embassy statement said the envoy would return to Egypt on Saturday, after a Saudi official had said on Friday that he would come back to Cairo next week.

Egypt sent a large parliamentary delegation to Riyadh this week to help rebuild ties with the kingdom, which has promised US$2.7 billion to support battered Egyptian finances.

Previously strong ties between Riyadh and Cairo were strained by last year's uprising in Egypt that overthrew President Hosni Mubarak, who was close to the Saudi leadership.

The rising power of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt has also worried many in the Gulf who fear the spread of its influence.

Qattan said work at the embassy and consulates in Egypt will be doubled to finish work that has been held up since last week, according to state-run news service MENA.

The embassy will reopen on Sunday.

MENA added that Umra and other visas that were supposed to be issued last week will be issued as soon as possible.

Qattan was quoted by MENA as saying that the recent standoff was only a cursory one and that the responses on both sides have shown the depth of relations between the two nations.

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