CAIRO — Saudi Arabia pledged $5 billion in grants and loans to Egypt's new government on Tuesday, a second major promise of aid from the Gulf after the ouster of the country's Islamist president.
Earlier, the United Arab Emirates pledged $3 billion to the cash-strapped country. Saudi Arabia and the UAE are leading critics of deposed President Mohammed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood.
The aid is a clear sign of shifting policies among the wealthy Gulf nations toward Egypt. Qatar had been a main backer of the Brotherhood, giving Morsi's government several billion dollars during his year in office.
Egypt's foreign reserves stood at just $14.9 billion at the end of June, according to the country's central bank, less than half the amount in early 2011. The reserves, needed to pay for vital imports but also used to prop up the local currency, have taken a hit during continuous political turmoil and stand at what the central bank admits is a critical level.
Mass street protests against Morsi prompted the military to take over last week and name a new interim president, but Morsi's Brotherhood supporters say they will protest until he is reinstated. The latest turmoil is expected to further scare away tourists and foreign investors from Egypt.
The new Gulf assistance might stave off a crisis over currency reserves.
While Saudi Arabia helped Egypt with almost $2 billion in aid after Morsi was elected last year, the additional $5 billion announced Tuesday marks a significantly higher amount and reflects the kingdom's support of the latest changes in Cairo.
Saudi Finance Minister Ibrahim al-Assaf said the package includes $2 billion to be deposited in Egypt's Central Bank, $2 billion worth of oil and gas and $1 billion in cash.
The United Arab Emirates, among the leading Arab critics of the Brotherhood, was involved in a diplomatic row with Morsi's government over the arrest of several Egyptians accused of forming a Brotherhood cell there. The crackdown prompted some Islamists in Egypt to sharply criticize the Emirates, which had warm relations with ex-President Hosni Mubarak, who was deposed in 2011.
The official Emirates news agency WAM said the UAE offered a $1 billion grant and a $2 billion no-interest loan to Egypt.
Associated Press writers Abdullah al-Shihri in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and Brian Murphy in Dubai, UAE, contributed.
Earlier on HuffPost:
The Obama administration is treading carefully, wary of taking sides. President Barack Obama said the U.S. acknowledged the "legitimate grievances of the Egyptian people" while also observing that Morsi, an Islamist, won his office in a legitimate election. <em>In this June 28, 2012 pool-file photo, President Barack Obama speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington after the Supreme Court ruled on his health care legislation. (AP Photo/Luke Sharrett/Pool-File)</em>
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Islamic-rooted government, which had formed an alliance with Morsi, is speaking out in favor of the ousted leader. Turkey's foreign minister slammed the overthrow as "unacceptable" and called for Morsi's release from house arrest. Turkey itself was hit last month by a wave of protests against Erdogan's perceived authoritarianism and attempts to impose his conservative views on secular society. <em>In this Sept. 30, 2012 file photo, Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, and Egyptian President Muhammed Morsi attend the congress of Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party in Ankara, Turkey. (AP Photo/File)</em>
Syria's embattled President Bashar Assad is celebrating the overthrow as the end of "political Islam." He is facing an insurgency at home and has refused to step down, calling the revolt an international conspiracy carried out by Islamic extremists and fundamentalist groups such as the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, a branch of the Egyptian group with the same name to which Morsi belongs. <em>In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian President Bashar Assad, center, speaks during an interview published with the state-run Al-Thawra newspaper, in Damascus, Syria, Thursday, July 4, 2013. (AP Photo/SANA)</em>
Iran is disappointed at the fall of Morsi, with a prominent lawmaker saying the leader failed to reshape Egypt's powerful military and other security agencies. After Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution, the new leadership formed military and security forces loyal to the clerics and others. Morsi's government had ended more than three decades of diplomatic estrangement with Iran dating back to the revolution, when Egypt offered refuge to Iran's deposed shah. <em>In this photo released by the official website of the office of Iranian President-elect Hasan Rouhani, Rouhani speaks in a conference in Tehran, Iran, Saturday, June 29, 2013. (AP Photo/Office of the President-elect, Mohammad Berno)</em>
The ruling Islamists in Tunisia, the cradle of the Arab Spring, are condemning the overthrow as a "flagrant coup." Ennahda party leader Rachid Ghannouchi expressed astonishment, saying the overthrow undermined democracy and would feed radicalism. <em>New prime minister of Tunisia, Ali Larayedh, delivers a speech during a press conference, Friday, Feb. 22, 2013, in Tunis, Tunisia. (AP Photo/Hassene Dridi)</em>
The United Arab Emirates, one of the Arab world's most outspoken critics of the Muslim Brotherhood, is noting its "satisfaction" at the turn of events in Egypt, according to the official news agency WAM. The UAE claims Islamist groups backed by the Muslim Brotherhood have sought to topple its Western-backed ruling system. <em>Emirati Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash gestures during his joint press conference with British Foreign Affairs Minister to the Middle East Alistair Burt in Abu Dhabi, on May 28, 2013. (MARWAN NAAMANI/AFP/Getty Images)</em>