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Qatar denies 'pledge' to change Al Jazeera's Egypt policy

The shuttering of Al Jazeera was among the list of 13 demands [Getty]

Date of publication: 23 January, 2021

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A claim by Egyptian officials that suggested Qatar had agreed to change its Al Jazeera policy towards Cairo has been rejected as false by Doha.
Qatari authorities have rejected claims by Egyptian officials that suggested Al Jazeera had agreed to change its policy toward Cairo, Reuters reported.

A Qatari official, responding to claims reported by Reuters, denied that a change in Al Jazeera's editorial had been made as part of reconciliation efforts between Doha and Cairo.

Diplomatic relations were restored “via written correspondence referencing the Al Ula Agreement” and no meeting had taken place to discuss the Qatar-based media network, the official said.

The claims were also debunked by senior staff at Al Jazeera who said the broadcaster would continue "critical coverage of issues of importance to the Egyptian people and the Arab world," according to local outlet Doha News.

The remarks surfaced after a Reuters report, citing Egyptian officials, said a Qatari foreign ministry official allegedly pledged a change of orientation by Al Jazeera in its reporting of Egypt affairs.

On Wednesday, the Egyptian foreign ministry confirmed in a statement that it would resume diplomatic relations with Qatar after a three-year suspension of ties.

“The Arab Republic of Egypt and the state of Qatar have exchanged two official notes today, January 20, according to which the two countries agreed to resume diplomatic relations,” a statement from the Egyptian foreign ministry said.

At a summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council earlier this month, Egypt was among the signatories of the Al-Ula Declaration, ending a three-year dispute with Doha, alongside Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates.

Read more: Qataris crossing into Saudi Arabia welcomed with roses after border reopens

In 2017, the four countries broke off relations with Qatar and imposed an air and land blockade, accusing it of supporting extremist groups and covert relations with Iran. Qatar vehemently denied the charges.

The shuttering of the Qatar-based Al Jazeera media network was part of a list of 13 demands issued to Qatar by the former blockading quartet.

However, shortly after the end of the dispute, Qatar’s foreign minister, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani described Al Jazeera as an independent media institution and denied it was discussed as part of reconciliation efforts.

“We guarantee freedom of expression, and the issue of Al Jazeera must be dealt with positively and constructively,” Al-Thani said in an interview on the broadcaster. 

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