Qatar's emir attends Sharm summit, vows support for 'brother' El-Sisi

Ahram Online , Saturday 28 Mar 2015

Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani's attendance at the Arab Summit is being taken by observers as an indication of eased tensions between Cairo and Doha

Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani
Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani (Photo: Reuters)

Ahead of the opening of the Arab Summit held in Egypt's coastal Sharm El-Sheikh resort, a meeting was held between Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and Qatar's Emir Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, where both leaders discussed bilateral relations and where Tamim vowed to support “his brother President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi’s country” in all sectors.

Relations between Egypt and Qatar were strained since the 2013 ouster of Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, who had been backed by Qatar. A Saudi-sponsored reconciliation initiative narrowed the gap in December 2014.

The news that Qatar's Tamim would attend the Sharm El-Sheikh Arab Summit was seen by many as signalling a possible ease in tensions between the two Arab states.

Since 2013, Cairo was incensed that Doha hosted several exiled leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, now banned and designated a terrorist organisation by Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Qatar's emir did not attend a global investors conference Egypt hosted earlier this month in Sharm El-Sheikh. But a delegation from Qatar headed by a top economy ministry official participated in the three-day gathering that saw Egypt secure billions in new investment and Central Bank deposits from Arab Gulf allies Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, among others.

In February, Qatar recalled its ambassador to Egypt over a spat at a meeting of the Arab League in Cairo where Egypt's delegates accused Doha of supporting terrorism.

The new flare-up came after Qatar expressed reservations on Egypt's recent air strikes against Islamic State group targets in Libya in response to the beheading of 20 Egyptian Coptic Christians.

Qatar's suspension in December 2014 of its Egypt-focused Al-Jazeera channel (Al-Jazeera Mubasher), accused by Egyptian authorities of serving as a mouthpiece for the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as its banishing of seven Brotherhood leaders in September, was seen as a goodwill gesture by Doha to mend relations with Egypt.

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