Egypt, Qatar agree to resume diplomatic relations

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi speaks during a joint news conference with French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee palace, France.

Egypt and Qatar have agreed to resume diplomatic relations, the Egyptian foreign ministry said on Wednesday.

The move follows an agreement between Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt earlier this month to end their boycott of Qatar – a move taken in 2017 over allegations it supported terrorism, a charge that Doha denies.

“Arab Republic of Egypt and the State of Qatar exchanged, today, January 20, 2021, two official memoranda, in virtue of which the two countries agreed to resume diplomatic relationss,” a foreign ministry statement said.

Egypt reopened its airspace to Qatari flights on January 12 and flights between the two countries were resumed.

When the boycott was announced, Egypt and its allies called on Qatar to cut ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, among other demands.

The Islamist group was outlawed in Egypt after then-army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi led the overthrow of the Brotherhood’s Mohamed Mursi from the presidency in 2013, before being elected president himself the following year.

Much of the group’s senior leadership was jailed in Egypt but other members took refuge abroad in Qatar or its regional ally Turkey.

Egypt and the UAE have also found themselves at odds with Turkey and Qatar in Libya, where they have backed opposing factions in a civil conflict.

A Qatari foreign ministry official pledged to Egypt during a meeting with officials from Egypt and UAE on Saturday that his country will change the policy of its al-Jazeera television channel towards Cairo, two Egyptian intelligence sources said.

He also pledged that Doha would not intervene in Egypt’s internal affairs, they added.

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