CAIRO: President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi said Egypt’s recently-strained relations with Qatari and Turkish governments will not affect the relations among the peoples of the three countries.
“Since I took office, Egypt has not issued a single official statement that offends or abuses the Qatari or Turkish governments. Egypt abides by the Riyadh Supplementary Agreement, announced by Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz earlier in November urging conflict resolution between Egypt and Qatar,” said Sisi in an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat Thursday.
Sisi’s statement comes a day before his first visit to Saudi Arabia since the coronation of the new king Salman Bin Abdelaziz in January. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is also expected to pay an official visit to Saudi Arabia Sunday to hold bilateral talks with King Salman.
Many Egyptian media commentators have speculated that Salman may try to mediate and lead reconciliation between the Egyptian and the Turkish leaders, as his predecessor had been trying to do.
Though both Sisi and Erdogan were present in two events during the past few months (the U.N. General Assembly meetings in September and the funeral of the Saudi King Abullah in January,) they have not had direct encounters.
Egypt’s sour relations with both Qatar and Turkey have their roots in the wake of the military overthrow of former President Mohammed Morsi in July 2013 following mass protests against his rule.
Sisi’s visit to Saudi Arabia comes also weeks before an Economic Summit scheduled to be held in Sharm al-Sheikh in March.