Qatar's top diplomat visits Egypt amid improving ties

Qatar's top diplomat visits Egypt amid improving ties
3 min read
25 May, 2021
President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Qatar's Foreign Minister Mohammad bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, meeting in Cairo, agreed on "intensifying joint consultation and coordination” to boost bilateral ties between the two nations, el-Sissi’s office said in a
Egyptian FM Sameh Shoukry met with Qatar's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al-Thani in Cairo [Getty]

Egypt's president met on Tuesday with Qatar's chief diplomat amid improved relations since Egypt and three Gulf nations ended their dispute with the energy-rich country in January.

President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Qatar's Foreign Minister Mohammad bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, meeting in Cairo, agreed on "intensifying joint consultation and coordination" to boost bilateral ties between the two nations, Sisi's office said in a statement.

Sisi also received an invitation from Qatar's emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to visit Doha.

It would be the first for Sisi to the Gulf state since he led the military's overthrow of an elected Islamist president in 2013 amid mass protests against his divisive one-year rule. Sisi was defence minister at the time.

The Qatari chief diplomat also held talks with Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shukry that discussed "the positive development" in ties between the two countries, according to a statement by Egypt's Foreign Ministry.

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A January declaration put an end to a diplomatic crisis that began in 2017 with a rift between Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain on one side and Qatar on the other.

The four countries had jointly boycotted Qatar and hoped an embargo and media blitz would pressure it to end alleged close relations with Turkey and Iran.

The countries accused Qatar of cozying up to Iran and financing extremist groups in the region, though Doha denied the charges.

Egypt's Foreign Ministry said the ministers discussed taking further measures to promote "the positive atmosphere" in their bilateral ties. It did not elaborate on details.

Shukry said in televised comments on Friday that the implementation of the January agreement between the five nations would further accelerate restoring ties between Cairo and Doha.

Tuesday's statement by the Foreign Ministry said joint committees concluded a new round of talks and would continue discussing lingering issues to fully implement that agreement. It did not elaborate.

The two diplomats also discussed other regional topics, including a decade-long dispute between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia over a massive dam Ethiopia is building on the main tributary of the Nile River, the statement added. Egypt and Sudan deem the Ethiopian dam a major threat to their water security.

The Qatari foreign minister then left to Doha. He had arrived in Cairo late on Monday from a trip to Khartoum where he met with Sudanese officials, his first visit to Sudan after an uprising led to the military’s ouster of Omar al-Bashir in April 2019.

The Qatari foreign minister also travelled to Libya earlier this week. He met with the newly appointed transitional government in Tripoli that has been struggling to unite the divided North African country before an election scheduled in December.