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Wednesday, 26 May 2021

Cairo and Qatar are now friends IRL

Qatari FM’s first meeting in Cairo makes our friendly relations official: Enhancing bilateral relations and boosting cooperation and investment between Egypt and Qatar were key talking points during a meeting yesterday between Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and Qatari FM Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, who met for the first time in Cairo since the recent lifting of Egypt and the GCC’s 2017 blockade on Qatar, according to a Foreign Ministry statement. The FMs also discussed ways to consolidate joint Arab action in the face of regional challenges — given Qatar's presidency of the Arab League — while touching on other regional issues, including the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) impasse.

Could El Sisi make a reciprocal visit soon? In a separate meeting with the Qatari FM yesterday, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi received an official invitation to Doha from Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. If it goes through, it would be his first to Qatar since assuming the presidency. The two agreed to enhance bilateral consultation and coordination, and to coordinate further visits of government officials from both countries.

More than just a formality: “This latest visit confirms that there is indeed more than a simple signing of letters,” Carnegie Endowment’s H.A. Hellyer told the Associated Press. The rapid development of bilateral relations “certainly impacts the existing geopolitical arrangements of the region” and could set the tone for a realignment of regional allegiances, Hellyer said. An Egyptian-Qatari committee tasked with follow-up on the implementation of the reconciliatory Al-Ula accord will continue to meet to discuss outstanding issues, the foreign ministry statement said.

Al Thani arrived in Cairo on Monday for a two-day visit after stops in Sudan and Libya, as Egypt continues to mend fences with Qatar after the two countries decided to restore ties earlier this year, following 3.5 years of suspended diplomatic relations.

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