World Bulletin/News Desk
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met a special envoy of the emir of Qatar on Saturday, the latest step in a Saudi-brokered effort to repair relations, regional news agencies reported.
Ties between Cairo and Doha deteriorated after then-army chief Sisi removed President Mohamed Mursi and his Muslim Brotherhood from power in July 2013.
Saudi King Abdullah last month called on Egypt to back a deal under which Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain agreed to end an eight-month diplomatic dispute over Qatar's support for the Brotherhood and promotion of "Arab Spring" revolts.
That agreement was the main point of discussion between Sisi and Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani of Qatar at Saturday's meeting in Cairo, also attended by an envoy of King Abdullah.
"The two countries responded to it (the initiative) with full conviction", said a report from the Saudi news agency SPA.
Like Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain, Egypt withdrew its ambassador to Qatar earlier this year. But while the others have agreed to normalise diplomatic ties under the November deal, Cairo has yet to follow suit.
S. Arabia says it blesses healing Egypt-Qatar rifts
Qatar welcomed a Saudi statement earlier in the day on cementing ties between Doha and Cairo.
"Qatar stands by its sister country, Egypt, as it always did" the Gulf state said in a statement.
It said its own security was inseparable from Egypt's security, describing ties between Doha and Cairo as both "deep" and "strong."
"The state of Qatar welcomes the initiative of King Abdullah bin Abdel-Aziz for bolstering ties with Egypt," Qatar said.
Earlier on Saturday, Saudi Arabia said both Egypt and Qatar had accepted an initiative of King Abdullah bin Abdel-Aziz to bridge gaps between them.
It added in a statement that it also blessed ongoing efforts for bringing Egypt and Qatar closer together, noting that these efforts had included the meeting in Cairo.
This was the first meeting to take place between al-Sisi and a Qatari official since the Egyptian President took over in his country in June of this year.
Egypt had accused Doha of interfering in its affairs by supporting the Muslim Brotherhood – the group from which Morsi hails – and by hosting a number of wanted Brotherhood figures following Morsi's ouster.
In a September interview with CNN held on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad described Morsi's ouster as a "military coup."
Cairo has been especially irked by Qatar's view of political developments in Egypt, and what it describes as biased news coverage by Qatar's Al-Jazeera Mubasher Misr channel, which is devoted to covering Egypt news.
Sisi suggested last month he was considering pardoning Al Jazeera journalists currently serving a seven-year jail term on charges of aiding a "terrorist organisation" by spreading lies.
Last Mod: 20 Aralık 2014, 23:48