Sisi says media attacks on Qatar reflection of public opinion

Ahram Online , Saturday 28 Feb 2015

Since the 2013 removal of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi as president, Qatar and Egypt have seen their ties worsen with ongoing diplomatic disputes

In this file photo President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi makes a statement in the early hours of Monday, Feb. 16, 2015 (Photo: The Egyptian Presidency)

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi says local media criticism of Qatar is only a reflection of public anger towards the Gulf state, asserting that Egyptian media outlets have a margin of freedom and are not controlled by the authorities.

"There are opinions that people believe are ours [the government’s] whereas these views, in fact, reflect the anger of the Egyptian people and public opinion," he said during a protracted interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, published on Saturday.

Relations between Cairo and Doha have soured since the 2013 removal of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, who was robustly backed by Qatar.

Since then, there have been heated exchanges between Egypt and Qatar, both in the media and on official levels.

In December 2013, Egypt declared the Muslim Brotherhood, the group from which Morsi hails, a terrorist organisation.

Qatar has provided a number of leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood with refuge since the ouster of Morsi.

The Qatari-based Al Jazeera has taunted El-Sisi's government with accusations of violating human rights in its campaign against the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.

Cairo, which has been battling an Islamist insurgency in Sinai, has recently accused Doha of supporting terrorism.

El-Sisi is set to arrive in Saudi Arabia on Sunday for talks with the Saudi new monarch Salman Bin Abdel-Aziz to discuss a range of regional and bilateral issues.

Saudi Arabia has been mediating a reconciliation between Cairo and Doha.

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