Egypt President Sisi, Qatar Emir Tamim hold talks in Doha; witness signing of several MoUs

Ahram Online , Wednesday 14 Sep 2022

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi held an official session of talks with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani on Wednesday at the royal palace in Doha, then the two leaders witnessed the signing a number of memoranda of understanding (MoUs) between the two countries.

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi
A handout picture released by the Qatar Emiri Diwan on September 14, 2022, shows Qatar s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani (R) and Egypt s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (L) meeting at the Royal Palace in Doha. AFP

The Egyptian president was accorded an official reception ceremony by the country's emir upon his arrival at the Amiri Diwan in Doha for the talks on Wednesday morning.

President El-Sisi was received on Tuesday evening by Emir Tamim at Hamad International Airport as he embarked on a two day official visit to Qatar - his first such visit since asuming the presidency in 2014 -  upon the invitation of the Qatari leader.

During Wednesday's talks, Emir Tamim expressed to El-Sisi his aspirations for the further growth and development of the fraternal relations between the two countries, according to the official Qatari News Agency QNA.

The Qatari emir also expressed his hopes that El-Sisi’s visit would contribute to the consolidation of cooperation relations between the two countries to achieve the aspirations and interests of the two brotherly peoples, QNA added.

For his part, El-Sisi affirmed to Emir Tamim Egypt's openness on deepening ties with Qatar in the political, security, economic and trade fields, according to the official Egyptian news agency MENA.

The Qatari emir hailed Egyptian efforts in supporting Arab and Gulf causes, lauding the country's prominent role in promoting joint Arab action mechanisms in the face of crises and challenges, MENA added.

Emir Tamim said that Egypt is a role model in efforts to maintain stability as well as bolster social and economic development in the Arab world. 

According to QNA, the MoUs signed on Wednesday included an MoU between Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) and the Sovereign Fund of Egypt (TSFE) for investment and development; an MoU on cooperation in the field of ports development; and an MoU signed by Egypt's Ministry of Social Solidarity and Qatar's Ministry of Social Development and the Family to promote cooperation onsocial issues.

The Qatari emir affirmed to President El-Sisi that Qatar is keen to boost bilateral cooperation between the two countries through increasing Qatari investment in Egypt, the Egyptian Presidency Spokesperson Bassam Rady told MENA.

A significant visit

Rady said on Tuesday that El-Sisi’s visit is a culmination of the intensive discussions held recently between the two countries with the aim of strengthening bilateral cooperation on all levels.

Qatari Ambassador to Egypt Salem Mubarak Al-Shafi expressed his confidence that El-Sisi’s visit would establish "an unprecedented breakthrough" in cooperation between them, QNA reported.

The Qatari ambassador said on Monday that El-Sisi’s visit to Doha is a reflection of the level of “excellence” in relations reached between the two countries, which culminated in Sheikh Tamim’s visit to Cairo in June.

Tamim’s visit to Cairo was his first since the two countries resumed diplomatic ties following the Al-Ula Declaration, which ended a three-and-half-year diplomatic and economic boycott that Egypt and three of the GCC members – Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE – had placed on Qatar.

In the wake of Al-Ula declaration, Cairo and Doha have agreed to move beyond their disputes and work towards settling all their outstanding issues, forming an Egyptian-Qatari follow-up committee that has held seven rounds of negotiations over the past year, the last of which was in Doha last September.

The course of the follow-up committee has seen the signing of a number of bilateral deals to bolster ties between the two countries, which eventually formed the Egyptian-Qatari High Joint Committee – headed by the two foreign ministers – in March.

On Wednesday, Deputy Director General of the Egyptian Center for Strategic Studies (ECSS) Mohamed Ibrahim El-Deweri told MENA that El-Sisi’s visist represents a strong support to the Arab stance.

The importance of the visit comes from being the first visit of El-Sisi to Qatar since taking office in 2014, said El-Deweri adding that it comes in light of escalating crises at the regional and international levels.

He said the visit comes as part of the steps taken by both countries to turn over a new leaf in their relations, adding that it is an example on overcoming tactical disputes in order to achieve the strategic goals among the sisterly countries.

In March, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said during a presser with his Qatari counterpart in Cairo that the impurities that plagued the relations were removed through consensus on the statement of Al-Ula, the subsequent honest and sincere activation of the follow-up committee, and the positive results it reached.

Qatar's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister Mohamed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said at the time that bilateral relations “are in constant development,” affirming his government's keenness to upgrade these relations.

“We see that the horizon of the relations between Qatar and Egypt is wide in boosting economic partnership and communication between the two countries on all levels,” the Qatari FM said, adding that the past period that was marred by tensions is over.

El-Sisi’s meeting with Qatari Businessmen Association

Earlier on Wednesday, during the inauguration of the Qatari-Egyptian Businessmen Forum, El-Sisi affirmed Egypt’s keenness to develop economic and commercial cooperation with the Qatari business community and boost joint investment, in a meeting on Wednesday with representatives of the Qatari Businessmen Association, according to a statement by Rady.

The Egyptian president expressed willingness to provide real investment opportunities for the Qatari private sector, reviewing Egypt's measures to modernise infrastructure, including the establishment of road networks, power stations and modern public transportation, in addition to establishing a legal system and legislation that meet the aspirations and demands of investors and achieve growth prospects, according to QNA.

The Qatari FM was quoted by QNA as saying that the Qatari-Egyptian Businessmen Forum represents the culmination of an exceptional and distinguished phase in the historical relations between both countries.

From their side, Qatari businessmen said that this meeting represents a great opportunity to strengthen the bonds of brotherhood and cooperation between the two countries

Moreover, they asserted their aspiration to discuss the possibilities of maximising cooperation between the two countries, especially with the availability of many promising investment opportunities in Egypt, especially in the energy and renewables sectors, tourism, construction, real estate development, agriculture, industry and healthcare.

The Qatari top diplomat called on the Qatari and Egyptian business sectors to take advantage of the important economic capabilities in both countries as well as the investment opportunities and incentives available to establish successful investment projects and partnerships, noting that bilateral trade cooperation has witnessed a notable and growing development in light of the recovery of the global economy from the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Qatari investments in Egypt climbed from $109.8 billion in the second quarter of FY 2021/2022 to $140.1 billion in the third quarter of 2021/2022, according to data from Egypt’s Central Bank.

In June, Egyptian Minister of Industry and Trade Nevine Gamea cited industrial partnerships between 4,500 Egyptian and Qatari companies as models for further cooperation, declaring a month later that she held a meeting with the Qatari Businessmen Association to explore the potential for boosting Qatari investments in the Egyptian market.

Also in June, a week before Sheikh Tamim’s visit to Cairo, Egypt and Qatar signed an MoU in Doha on financial policy coordination to foster cooperation and coordinate financial visions, positions and policies at the bilateral and international levels.

According to Egypt’s Minister of Finance Mohamed Maait, the MoU, which aims to exchange expertise in taxation, customs, and financial policies, paves the way for reaching an agreement on preventing double taxation between the two sides with a view to stimulating joint investments.

In July, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly instructed the government to explore opportunities to boost investments and partnerships with Qatar.

This comes few months after an extended meeting in March between Madbouly and Qatar's FM in Cairo where a Qatari package of $5 billion in investments and partnerships in Egypt was announced within "the framework of boosting economic cooperation between the two brotherly countries."

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