"(They tried) to turn the region to confrontation in the interest of Iran, which is trying to use its cards to escape Western pressure ... on the nuclear file," Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said in an interview with Orbit satellite channel broadcast on Wednesday.
Aboul Gheit also said that Egypt undermined Qatar's efforts to arrange a formal Arab summit on Gaza earlier this month, arguing that it would have damaged "joint Arab action".
"Egypt made the summit fail... This summit, if it had taken place as an Arab summit with a proper quorum, would have damaged joint Arab action. We can see what others do not see," he said.
The interview was broadcast on Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning and the state news agency MENA carried excerpts.
The comments are the first acknowledgement by Egypt that it actively sought to prevent the Doha summit on Jan. 16.
It also indicated that a reconciliation meeting in Kuwait last week between Egypt and Saudi Arabia on one hand, and Qatar and Syria on the other, had only a short-term effect.
Qatar failed to win enough support to hold a formal Arab League summit on Gaza but it went ahead anyway with an informal consultative meeting of Arab leaders.
On one side Saudi Arabia and Egypt, wary of the Hamas in Gaza, favoured discussing Gaza at a separate economic summit in Kuwait a few days later.
Diplomats say Egypt resents the Qatari challenge to its traditional role as leading Arab mediator and dislikes the influence of the satellite television channel Al Jazeera, which is based in Doha and owned by the Qatari government.
"Some people imagined that a satellite channel could bring down the Egyptian state, without realising that Egypt is much stronger than that," Aboul Gheit said.
"Egypt is very big and has extensive influence despite attempts to influence this stance and role, whether in the Al Jazeera channel or other channels," he added.
Last Mod: 29 Ocak 2009, 16:16