Saudi hails Egypt-Qatar rapprochement

Egypt and Qatar hail Saudi-backed initiative to restore ties between the two countries

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Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met a top Qatari envoy in Cairo on Saturday as part of Saudi-brokered reconciliation that was hailed by Riyadh as the opening of “a new page” between the two Arab states.

Sisi met Sheikh Mohammad bin AbdelRahman al-Thani, the special envoy to Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, and Khalid al-Tuwaijri, Head of the Saudi Royal Court and Private Secretary to King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz.

The meeting between Sisi and the Qatari envoy is the first since the Egyptian leader took office last summer.

Saudi Arabia welcomed the meeting and said the two countries had responded with "full conviction" to the Saudi king's initiative calling on both sides to consolidate ties, unify their stance and “remove reasons aiming to provoke conflict and discord between them,” according to the Saudi Press Agency.

"The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has expressed its welcome regarding ongoing steps that will strengthen relations between the Arab Republic of Egypt and the State of Qatar, including the visit made by Special Envoy of the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani to Egypt,” the SPA, quoting a Saudi Royal Court statement, said.

“Saudi Arabia stressed its support and keenness on opening a new page between the two countries for enhancing integration and cooperation between the two countries to achieve higher interests of the Arab and Islamic nations, hoping of all honorable scientists, intellectuals, writers and men of the media outlets responding and supporting this step.”

The statement referred to the Riyadh agreement that brought together Gulf states in November to end a dispute between the GCC and Qatar, noting the commitment of all “GCC members to adopt the [GCC] council’s policy of supporting Egypt and contributing to its security and stability.”

Qatar, meanwhile, praised the initiative to bring Doha and Cairo closer.

“[The state of Qatar] stresses its adherence to the contents of the [Saudi Royal Court] statement, praising the sincere efforts of the Saudi king … and commends his wisdom and strong commitment to strengthening Arab solidarity,” according to a statement carried by the state-run Qatar News Agency.

Qatar also stressed its “complete standing with Egypt, as it has always done,” noting that the security of the two states was interlinked.

The statement said Qatar was keen Egypt play a leading role in the Arab and Muslim world and “affirms its commitment to close ties with [Egypt] and to developing them.”

Egypt, for its part, said it looked “forward to a new era that ends past disagreements," according to a statement from Sisi’s office that was issued after the Egyptian leader met the two envoys.

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