Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi is visiting Qatar for the first time on Tuesday, 13 September, to meet with Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani following diplomatic reconciliation between the two countries, according to the state-run Qatari News Agency.
This comes after Al-Thani’s visit to Egypt on 26 June 2022 – his first since the diplomatic discord – when both leaders met to reaffirm their commitment to bolstering political and economic cooperation, particularly in the field of energy.
“[Al-Sisi’s visit] to the State of Qatar comes within the framework of the positive momentum witnessed in the relations between Doha and Cairo […] which will culminate in results that will achieve the aspirations of the peoples of the two brotherly countries in all fields, and will establish an unprecedented breakthrough in the process of cooperation between them,” Ambassador of Qatar to Egypt, Mubarak Al-Shafi, explained in an interview.
Prior to renewed relations, Egypt was one of five Arab countries, along with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Yemen that cut diplomatic ties with Qatar in June 2017, citing “charges [that] it supports terrorism, a reference to Islamist groups”. Qatar denied the allegations but failed to change the minds of the boycotting states.
Over the next three-and-a-half years, Egypt and Qatar’s diplomatic freeze gradually thawed throughout the years, reaching effective progress when Egypt, along with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain, signed the Al-Ula agreement in January 2021 to formally revive diplomatic relations with Qatar.
Since Al-Thani’s visit to Egypt, cooperation between the two states has quickly increased, most evidently in Qatar’s EGP 96 billion (USD 5 billion) investment in Egypt in a bid to boost economic relations between the two states.
A week prior to the investment announcement, Egypt and Qatar’s finance ministers signed a financial policy memorandum of understanding on 22 June during the Qatar Economic Forum.
As Egypt’s government continues to privatize state-owned enterprises, the country aims to attract investment from neighboring countries. Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly announced a privatization plan on 15 May in a bid to increase private investments in the public sector from 30 percent to 65 percent.
Egypt’s increasingly privatizing sectors offer Qatar – and other Gulf states – the opportunity for further investments, strengthening economic ties as a result.
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