Egypt explains move to summon Qatar envoy

Ahram Online , Sunday 5 Jan 2014

Egypt's foreign ministry says Qatar's remarks in which it criticised the designation of the Muslim Brotherhood as terrorist was an 'unacceptable interference' in Egypt's internal affairs

Foreign Ministry
Egypt's Foreign Ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty (Photo: Ahram Arabic news website)

Egypt's foreign ministry said Saturday the summoning of Qatar's envoy was in protest at Doha's interference in Egyptian internal affairs, a spokesman said.

Saturday's move came after Doha's criticism of the crackdown of Egypt's interim government on the Muslim Brotherhood movement of deposed president Mohamed Morsi, whom it had strongly backed.

Relations between the countries worsened following the ouster of Morsi in July, and amid a mounting state crackdown on the Islamist Brotherhood movement. The government declared the Islamist group a "terrorist organisation" last month, accusing it of recent terror attacks on security forces and churches.

Egypt has witnessed an escalating wave of terror attacks targeting security forces since the ouster of Morsi. Tens of churches have also come under attack following the forceful dispersal of two pro-Morsi protest camps by security forces, leaving hundreds killed in August. 

Qatar on Friday said that the designation of the Brotherhood as a terrorist group was a "prelude" to intensifying a policy of "shooting to kill" demonstrators, alluding to those supporting the toppled Islamist president.

"The remarks were an unacceptable interference in Egypt's internal affairs," foreign ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty said in a statement.

Abdelatty also cited violations by the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera news broadcaster and its Egyptian affiliates, accused of pro-Brotherhood bias.

"Egypt reiterates that it will not allow any country or external party to interfere in its internal affairs under any name or justification," Abdelatty added.

"Any country that tries to do so would carry the responsibility for the consequences," he added.

On Friday, a Qatari foreign ministry statement published by state news agency QNA said: "The decision to designate popular political movements as terrorist organisations, and turning peaceful demonstration into a terrorist act, did not succeed in stopping the peaceful protests."

"It was only a prelude to intensify a policy of shooting to kill demonstrators," the statement added.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy said Saturday in an interview with Algeria's Echorouk daily that he expects most Arab states to acknowledge the Muslim Brotherhood's terrorist designation, in accordance with an Arab anti-terrorism agreement.

Turkish-Egyptian ties have also soured since Morsi's ouster.

In November, Egypt expelled the Turkish ambassador after it accused Ankara of backing organisations seeking to undermine the country's stability, in reference to the Brotherhood. Turkey reciprocated shortly after by declaring the Egyptian envoy persona non grata.

Last week, Egypt's general prosecutor ordered detained for 15 days Al-Jazeera staffers on charges of broadcasting false graphics to damage Egypt's image, state news agency MENA said.

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