Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Egypt thaws relations with Qatar after long-running feud

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Jan 8, 2021

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry signed Jan. 5 a reconciliation settlement with Qatar throughout a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit within the Saudi metropolis of al-Ula.

The Foreign Ministry stated in a press release printed on its Facebook web page that Egypt “is keen on [maintaining] solidarity among the Arab Quartet countries and their efforts to close ranks and remove any disagreements among brotherly Arab nations.”

The ministry referred to as for “building on this step to strengthen the Arab action and support relations between the brotherly Arab countries, based on goodwill and noninterference in the internal affairs of other countries.”

Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain severed diplomatic and commerce relations with Qatar in 2017, accusing Doha of supporting terrorist teams. Qatar has denied the accusation, saying the Saudi-led blockade goals to infringe on its sovereignty.

The 4 nations had produced 13 circumstances for Qatar as a worth for lifting their blockade, together with ending assist to the Islamist motion of the Muslim Brotherhood, closing Al Jazeera tv, eradicating a Turkish garrison from Qatar and cutting down cooperation with Iran.

The content material of the reconciliation accord between Qatar and the blockading nations was not disclosed, however Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud stated Riyadh and its three allies agreed to revive full relations with Doha, together with the resumption of flights. On Jan. 4, Saudi Arabia reopened its airspace and land and sea borders to Qatar.

“Today is a complete erasing of all disagreements and a full restoration of diplomatic ties. It will hopefully be a strong pillar for the future and stability of the region,” Farhan informed a press convention following the GCC summit.

The prime Saudi diplomat stated the ultimate communique of the summit additionally referred to as for bolstering cooperation in combating terrorist teams and respecting the ideas of excellent neighborliness.

It stays unclear what concessions Qatar made to encourage Egypt and its allies to finish their blockade. The summit communique gave no particulars, solely talking a few basic pledge of solidarity.

The Qatari Foreign Ministry stated the communique “strengthens the bonds of friendship and brotherhood between people, anchoring the principles of good neighborliness and mutual respect.”

Qatar Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani additionally tweeted that the GCC leaders “closed the page on disagreement.”

Egypt accuses Qatar of interfering in its inner affairs by supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, which Cairo listed as a terrorist group in 2013. Hundreds of Brotherhood members have fled to Qatar within the wake of the ouster of Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi.

Cairo additionally denounces Doha for utilizing its media machine to criticize the Egyptian insurance policies and undermine the nation’s regional and worldwide standing.

Pro-government journalist Mustafa Bakri accused Qatar of harboring the Muslim Brotherhood and paying tens of millions of {dollars} to tarnish the picture of the Egyptian regime and military. “Reconciliation with Qatar paves the way for it to carry out more conspiracies against all of us,” Bakri tweeted Jan. 4.

In December, Egyptian state-run media decried Qatar for elevating its funding for overseas suppose tanks to launch hostile media campaigns in opposition to Egypt. Several newspapers, citing sources, stated Doha has elevated funding for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace to put in writing unfavorable experiences concerning the scenario in Egypt and the Egyptian financial system.

Commenting on experiences of a breakthrough in Kuwait-led efforts to heal the rift between the Quartet nations and Qatar, Ahmed Hafez, spokesman for Egypt’s Foreign Ministry, underlined Dec. 31 the significance of “sincere intentions” to achieve true reconciliation.

“[This reconciliation] should be based on the principle of noninterference in internal affairs, combating any threat to security and stability of the Arab countries and peoples and maintaining the Arab national security,” Hafez stated.

Saudi King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud had invited Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to attend the GCC summit, however the Egyptian chief dispatched his overseas minister as an alternative.

Two Egyptian intelligence sources cited by Reuters stated that Cairo was nonetheless insisting that Qatar finish assist to the Brotherhood leaders overseas in return for the restoration of relations with Doha.

“I think Egypt’s reconciliation with Qatar will be a cold peace. Qatar’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood will continue,” Samuel Ramani, nonresident fellow on the Gulf International Forum, informed Al-Monitor.

“If the past conduct of Qatari media outlets is anything to go by, they might tone down criticism of fellow Gulf monarchies but remain critical of Egypt,” he stated. “Egypt reconciled with Qatar not expecting any concessions, so I don’t see a partnership forming.”

Ramani opined that reconciliation with Qatar provides the Egyptian president an opportunity “to show to the administration of US President-elect Joe Biden that he is pragmatic and willing to contribute to the stability of the MENA region.”

Shortly after the GCC summit, Qatari Finance Minister Ali Sharif Al-Emadi arrived in Cairo, the place he inaugurated the St. Regis Hotel in Cairo. The lodge, which value $1.three billion and stretches over an space of ​​9,360 sq. meters (2.three acres), is owned by state-run Qatari Diar actual property firm.

“By investing in this project through the Qatari Diar company, Qatar practically confirms its commitment to contribute to supporting Egypt’s tourism sector and its vital role in economic development and job creation, and this project is one of the Qatari investments in Egypt exceeding $5 billion in various fields,” Emadi stated in the course of the go to.

“Egypt and Qatar have maintained a vibrant underground commercial partnership despite political tensions. Qatar invests heavily in Egyptian petroleum refineries and Egypt wants greater Qatari foreign investment,” Ramani stated.

“Formally ending Egypt’s political rift with Qatar will encourage Qatari businesses that have been sitting on the sidelines to invest in the Egyptian economy,” he concluded.

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