Egypt ‘will not’ send envoy back to Doha

Cairo has emboldened its stance against Qatar while the spat within the Gulf continues

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Egypt emboldened its stance against Qatar on Thursday when it confirmed that it will not send its ambassador back to the Gulf country. The news comes amid increasing tensions within the Gulf as Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia withdrew their envoys from Doha this week.

“The Egyptian ambassador to Doha, who has been in Cairo since the beginning of February, will not return to Qatar at the present time, and his remaining (in Egypt) is a sovereign political decision,” Agence France-Presse quoted an Egyptian cabinet statement as saying.

Egypt recalled its ambassador in Doha last month because of the Gulf country’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood movement, which Cairo declared a terrorist group after the toppling of Islamist President Mohammad Mursi on July 30.

The statement described the political tension between Egypt and Qatar as involving other parties, according to Reuters news agency.

It added: “It is for Qatar to clearly determine its position, whether it will stand on the side of Arab solidarity, unified ranks and protection of national security... or on the other side, and bear the consequences and responsibility for that.”

However, it said the move would mark “the beginning of a correction of the course taken by the Qatari government, which is contrary to our brothers in the Gulf Cooperation Council.”

Qatar is the only Gulf state that supported the Brotherhood’s rise to power in Egypt.

After the popularly-backed army deposed Mursi, a Brotherhood leader, Egypt has received billions in aid from several Gulf Arab states, but not from Qatar.

Saudi Arabia pledged $5 billion in financial aid to Egypt, the UAE promised $3 billion while Kuwait allocated $4 billion in the form of cash grants, deposits and petroleum products.

Despite financial support from the Gulf states, Egyptian army chief Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said on Thursday that the country's economic situation is grave.

(With Reuters and AFP)