World Bulletin/News Desk
Egypt's Religious Endowments (Awqaf) Minister Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa said Saturday that Turkey and Qatar had not been invited to the two-day meeting of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, to kick off on Tuesday, because of what he described as their "incitement" against Egypt.
"We did not send invitations to Turkey or Qatar. We would not invite countries that incite against Egypt," the minister told reporters.
The Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs is affiliated to the Egyptian Ministry of Religious Endowments.
"I have personally decided not to deal with any Turkish official until Turkey changes its policy towards Egypt and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan apologizes to the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar," Gomaa said.
The Egyptian minister, meanwhile, denied any crisis in the relations with the people of Turkey and Qatar.
"We continue to open the doors of Al-Azhar to Turkish and Qatari students," he added.
Relations between Egypt and Turkey have deteriorated since the army's July 3 ouster of elected president Mohamed Morsi.
In August, the Egyptian Foreign Minister criticized statements attributed to Erdogan in which he allegedly criticized Al-Azhar Grand Imam Ahmed al-Tayeb for supporting Morsi's ouster.
But then Turkish Ambassador to Egypt Huseyin Avni Botsali insisted that Erdogan's statements had been "misunderstood."
In November, Egypt downgraded diplomatic relations with Turkey to the level of charge d'affaires and recalled its ambassador from Ankara.
Turkey reacted with the same measures.
Earlier this month, Saudi security forces shot and killed two suspected miltants including an explosive belt maker during a police operation in the north of Riyadh.
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A garrison loyal to President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi has held out in the city largely surrounded by the Huthi rebels and their allies who control the capital Sanaa and much of the north.
The building, dating from the early 1960s and including a shopping centre and clothing workshops, had been evacuated, but firefighters were battling the blaze inside and it was not immediately clear if there were casualties.
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