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Qatar delegation in Cairo ahead of 'full restoration of ties'

The Qatari delegation arrived in Cairo on Monday [Getty]

Date of publication: 9 March, 2021

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The Qatari delegation's visit is reportedly a prelude to a full restoration of diplomatic ties in the 'next phase'.

A Qatari delegation arrived in Cairo on Monday for a two-day visit to "hasten" the resumption of full ties between the two countries, according to Egyptian media.

It was the first Doha delegation to visit Egypt purely for bilateral meetings since the two countries reconciled at summit in Saudi Arabia this year, which also saw the end of a rift between Qatar and three Gulf states.

According to the state-owned Al-Ahram newspaper, Mohammed bin Hamad bin Saoud Al-Thani, the head of the legal department at Doha's foreign ministry, will lead a four-man delegation in the visit.

The paper cited sources close to the meeting which said it came within the "framework" of joint efforts to restore Cairo-Doha relations to the state they existed "before the Qatar diplomatic crisis erupted in mid-2017."

That year, Egypt joined three Gulf states in imposing a blockade on Qatar, which they accused of supporting terrorism and fostering close ties with Iran. Qatar has staunchly denied the charges.

The Saudi-led bloc agreed to lift the restrictions at the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit in January, held in the Saudi desert city of Al-Ula. Soon after the agreement, air and travel links between Qatar and the four states were restored.

Unnamed sources who spoke to Saudi broadcaster Al-Arabiya described the visit of Doha's delegation as a prelude to the full restoration of diplomatic ties in the "next phase", without specifying when that would be.

The meetings will focus on plans to reopen Cairo's embassy in Doha as well as the return of Qatari embassy officials to the Egyptian capital, the sources told Al-Arabiya.

In late February, delegation from the two sides met in Kuwait to discuss implementing the al-Ula declaration, the name of the document signed at the GCC summit to mark end of hostilities.

Read also: Qatari FM in first visit to Cairo since end of Gulf dispute

Last week, Qatar's top diplomat led a delegation at an Arab League conference in Cairo, which was chaired by Doha.

After meeting his Egyptian counterpart in the sidelines of the conference, Foreign Minister Mohammed Abulrahman Al-Thani said that both countries were working on restoring "warmth" in relations between them.

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