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Egyptian-Qatari Relations Reach Advanced Reconciliation Phase

Egyptian-Qatari Relations Reach Advanced Reconciliation Phase

Wednesday, 30 March, 2022 - 10:45
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi holding talks with Qatar’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani (Egyptian Presidency)

The Egyptian-Qatari relations have entered a new advanced stage within the framework of reconciliation that followed a regional political rift that lasted several years. This was marked by agreeing on investments and partnerships estimated at $5 billion.

On Tuesday, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi met with Qatar’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, heading a high-profile delegation that included Finance Minister Ali bin Ahmed Al-Kuwari and Abdullah Al-Khulaifi, head of the Qatari State Security Service, in the presence of Salem bin Mubarak Al Shafi, Qatar’s ambassador to Cairo.

Observers described the visit as “the most prominent real embodiment of the two countries’ efforts towards the return of normal relations.”

Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain agreed in January 2021 to end the boycott against Qatar, which they accused in 2017 of “supporting terrorist groups,” which Doha had denied.

The Egyptian president valued what he considered “tangible progress” in the course of Egyptian-Qatari ties, which would “serve the goals and interests of the two countries and peoples, and enhance efforts to maintain security and stability in the Arab region,” according to a statement by the Egyptian presidency.

The statement quoted Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani as saying that “the Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, was keen to consolidate the close brotherly relations between the two countries in a way that enhances security and stability in the region,” emphasizing “his appreciation for President Sisi’s efforts to advance joint Arab action… during the current delicate stage.”

Dr. Sama Suleiman, Undersecretary of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Egyptian Senate, attributed the rapid development in the Egyptian-Qatari relations, to Cairo’s success in confronting political Islam groups.

“The previous boycott period, as well as the current global developments, showed the need to activate reconciliation between the two countries, for economic reasons on the one hand, and political motives related to regional alliances on the other,” she told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Suleiman added that Egypt’s foreign policy was based on coordination and joint action with all Arab countries to confront the challenges and dangers facing Arab security.

During Tuesday’s meeting, Sisi underlined “the link between the Gulf and Egyptian national security,” praising “the important role Qatar plays in facing challenges facing the Arab nation.”

According to a statement by the Egyptian Cabinet, the meeting saw an agreement on a set of investments and partnerships in Egypt totaling $5 billion. The statement did not provide details of the announced investments, while Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said that the two countries will form a joint committee to enhance cooperation in various fields.

The committee will help advance cooperation relations, “as the most prominent real embodiment of the efforts of the two countries,” as noted by Abu Bakr Al-Deeb, head of the Arab Thought Research Forum.

He expected that the next stage would witness important steps in favor of bilateral cooperation, in light of a common desire to push relations forward.

The Egyptian-Qatari bilateral consensus was reflected in the two countries’ vision over regional issues. Sheikh Mohammed Abdul Rahman Al Thani said in this regard: "We have overcame the previous stage - which was marred by some tensions - with open hearts and a future outlook in the interest of our countries and peoples.”

He pointed to broad prospects for cooperation, in terms of expanding economic partnership and enhancing communication, which he said will have positive repercussions on joint Arab action through the exchange of views on various issues.

Egypt and Qatar exchanged ambassadors last year, in a sign of improving relations. Since the reconciliation was completed, Sisi has met the Emir of Qatar on more than one occasion, the last of which was in February, on the sidelines of the opening of the Winter Olympics in Beijing.

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