Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said on Wednesday that his country is keen to restore “warm, firm and good” relations with Egypt after the signing of a reconciliation deal in Saudi Arabia in January.
Egypt and Qatar restored diplomatic relations following the Al-Ula reconciliation agreement, which ended a more than three-year-long rift.
The agreement, signed by Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states during the 41st GCC summit in Saudi Arabia, resumed relations between Qatar and the quartet of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and UAE.
“We wish for [Qatari-Egyptian] relations to return to being warm and that relations become good and firm between the two brotherly countries,” the Qatari FM said in a press conference following a meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Cairo.
Following a meeting with Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry on Wednesday, the Qatari FM said the talks were marked by “a spirit of positivity and optimism towards returning relations to normal.”
Official delegations from Egypt and Qatar held their first meeting in Kuwait last week to discuss future steps to enhance joint work and bilateral ties after the signing of the Al-Ula agreement.
Sheikh Al-Thani referred to the meeting between the two delegations as “positive,” saying it comprised “positive steps to restore relations between the state of Qatar and the Arab Republic of Egypt.”
The press conference was attended by Arab League chief Ahmed Aboul-Gheit. The Arab foreign ministers involved in the Wednesday meeting agreed on renewing Aboul-Gheit's five-year term.
The Qatari FM congratulated Aboul-Gheit and wished him success.
During the press conference, a reporter asked the Qatari minister about whether Doha would continue its strong relations with Ankara and Tehran, despite accusations by Arab countries that these two states are interfering in their domestic affairs.
“Turkey and Iran are neighbouring countries to the Arab states and there has been a divergence in opinions among Arab countries in this regard,” the minister said.
“To us, we reject interference in the domestic affairs of any country as we reject foreign interference in Qatari domestic affairs,” he said.
“Also, the protection of the sovereignty of states is a basis for our stances. We see that each state has the right to protect its sovereignty … and to take the measures required to preserve its security.”
When asked about the future framework of cooperation between Arab states and the new US administration of Joe Biden to resolve the Palestinian issue, the minister said the Arab countries would work with any country that deals positively with the cause.
“As Arab countries, we adhere to the Arab Peace Initiative and the two-state solution on the basis of the 4 June 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as a capital for Palestine,” the minister said.
“Certainly, the Arab countries will deal in a positive and constructive way with any US administration or any other country that would work in accordance with this direction and address this issue positively,” the minister said.
He affirmed that the Arab states would, in this case, engage with these countries “to revive the peace process and put an end to the practices of the Israeli occupation.”