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Qatar's emir arrives in Egypt sealing end to Saudi-led rift

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi welcomed Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani at Cairo airport on his first visit in seven years
The visit by the emir (right) comes 18 months after Qatar and Egypt restored relations to end a Saudi-led rift of more than three years (AFP)

The emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, arrived in Egypt on Friday, 18 months after the two countries restored relations to end a longstanding, Saudi-led rift. 

President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi welcomed the emir at Cairo airport on his first visit in seven years, Sisi's office said.

During the meeting, the emir told President Sisi that his country was keen to "maximise Qatari investments in Egypt and take advantage of the vast investment opportunities available", according to an Egyptian presidency statement.

The pair discussed developing cooperation "in various fields, especially in the energy and agriculture sectors", and in trade and investment, "particularly the flow of Qatari investments towards Egypt", the statement added.

In late March, Cairo said the gas-rich Gulf state would be investing $5bn in Egypt.

At the same time, Qatari hydrocarbon giant QatarEnergy announced an agreement with ExxonMobil to acquire a 40 percent stake in a gas exploration block off Egypt in the Mediterranean.

No new agreements were announced during the emir's two-day trip, which concluded Saturday and was his first to Cairo since 2015.

Egypt had joined Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies in breaking off relations with Qatar in June 2017, citing its alleged support for the Muslim Brotherhood and soft line on Iran.

Relations were not restored until January last year after Riyadh and Doha mended ties.

The emir met Sisi for the first time since the dispute at a summit in Iraq last year