Qatar's emir to attend Sharm Arab summit, Egypt minister says

Ahram Online , Wednesday 25 Mar 2015

Despite tensions with Cairo, Egyptian minister says Qatar's emir will attend an Arab League summit due later this month in Sharm El-Sheikh

Emir of Qatar Sheik Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani (Photo: AP)

Qatar's emir will attend an Arab League summit due to take place in Egypt later this month, an Egyptian official said, sign of a possible ease in political tensions between the two Arab states.

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said in comments to private TV channel Sada El-Balad on Tuesday that Egypt "has received a notification" that Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad will participate in the annual gathering of the 22-member bloc.

The 26th Arab League summit will take place on March 28-29 in Egypt's Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh, with national security in the Arab countries topping the agenda, officials say.

Saudi Arabia's King Salman is expected to lead a line-up of Arab leaders at the summit who will also include Iraqi President Fouad Masoum.

Egypt and Qatar have fallen out over Doha's backing of Egyptian Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, who was ousted in 2013, and his Muslim Brotherhood group. 

Cairo has been incensed by Doha's hosting of several exiled leaders of the Brotherhood, now banned and designated a terrorist organisation by Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Qatar's emir did not attend a global investor conference Egypt hosted earlier this month in the coastal city. But a delegation from his country headed by a top economic ministry official participated in the three-day international gathering which saw Egypt secure $12 billion of investments and central bank deposits from Arab Gulf allies of Kuwait, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, and sign billions of dollars of deals.

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

The new flare-up of tension came after Qatar expressed reservations over 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, accused by Cairo of serving as a mouthpiece for the Brotherhood, as well as its banishing of seven Brotherhood leaders in September were seen as good-will gestures by Doha to mend relations between both states.  

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