Egypt, Qatar heal 17-month rift

CAIRO: In a move to heal relations between Egypt and Qatar strained for 17 months since the ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi, current President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi met with Saudi and Qatari envoys in Cairo Saturday, according to a statement issued by presidential spokesperson Alaa Youssef.

Sisi discussed with Saudi Special Envoy and President of the Royal Court Khalid bin Abdul-Aziz Al-Tuwaijri and Qatari Special Envoy Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani methods for reconciliation between both sides, Youssef said.

“The meeting reviewed steps for moving forward with the initiative proposed by Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz during the Riyadh Conference. This is a result of the decisions of the conference, which expressed a commitment by all states of the Gulf Cooperation Council to support Egypt and contribute to its security and stability, as well as promoting consensus among Arab brothers, especially between the Arab Republic of Egypt and Qatar,” Youssef continued.

The Saudi Royal House announced an agreement was reached on Nov. 16 between the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar in a meeting in the Saudi capital Riyadh to end “pending conflicts” for the wellbeing of the entire Arab and Muslim community.

Under the Riyadh Supplementary Agreement, Qatar and its state-owned TV network Al Jazeera should not interfere in Egyptian affairs.

After the ouster of Morsi on July 3, 2013, Qatar, a critical ally of the Muslim Brotherhood, condemned his ouster by the army after mass protests called for the end of his regime on June 30, 2013. Since then, relations between both sides have strained.

Oil-rich Gulf states Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait have supported the current Sisi regime, providing it with $20 million in aid.

As a means to pressure Qatar to stop its criticism of Egypt’s Sisi and his regime, Saudi Arabia and the UAE had asked their ambassadors to withdraw from Qatar last March following Qatar’s alleged violations of established agreements with the GCC not to interfere in other Arab states’ foreign affairs.

However, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain returned their ambassadors to Doha following the Nov. 16 reconciliation agreement.

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