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Egypt and Qatar bless Saudi initiative to repair relations between them

The Egyptian and Qatari heads of state have accepted and blessed Saudi Arabia's reconciliation efforts between the two countries
Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdel-Aziz meets the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani in Jeddah 14 October (AFP)

For the first time since he came to office in June this year, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi over the weekend met with an envoy of the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.

The meeting came as a result of Saudi Arabia’s initiative, overseen by the Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdel-Aziz, to reconcile Egypt and Qatar and to cement relations between them.

“Saudi Arabia blesses ongoing efforts to bolster ties between Egypt and Qatar,” the official Saudi news agency reported, quoting the Saudi royal court. Saudi Arabia is hoping that a new chapter between Egypt and Qatar based on mutual cooperation in the interests of the Arab and Muslim world will mark the beginning of a successful chapter between the two.

The Saudi-brokered effort to repair relations between the two countries follows through the same line of the recent annual GCC summit meeting, where Bahrain, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia resolved their differences with Qatar after an eight-month rift.

The differences were a result of Qatar openly backing the ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood. On the other hand, the rest of the GCC countries fully supported Sisi, and withdrew their ambassadors from Doha in March 2014.

Cairo has blamed Qatar of biased news coverage by the country’s Al-Jazeera Mubasher Misr channel, which is devoted to covering news from Egypt. Additionally, accusations from Cairo were levelled at Doha for hosting a number of wanted members from the Muslim Brotherhood group.

In a September interview with CNN, held on the side-lines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, the Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad described Morsi’s outer as a “military coup.”

“Egypt looks forward to starting a new chapter that puts an end to the differences of the past,” the Egyptian presidency said in a statement following the meeting with the Qatari envoy.

Sisi has backed media to react to the newly reconciled relations positively, as it not only aims to strengthen ties between Egypt and Qatar, but also boosts ties between Arab countries in general.

The chief of Saudi royal staff, Khaled bin Abdel-Aziz al-Tweijri, also attended the meeting.

Qatar has backed the Saudi initiative, describing ties between Doha and Cairo as “deep” and “strong.”

“The state of Qatar welcomes the initiative of King Abdullah bin Abdel-Aziz for bolstering ties with Egypt,” the Gulf state said in a statement. “Qatar stands by its sister country Egypt, as it always did.”

It also added that its own security was inseparable from Egypt’s security.