Egypt and Qatar agree to resume diplomatic ties, Cairo says
CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt and Qatar have agreed to resume diplomatic relations, the Egyptian foreign ministry said on Wednesday, making Cairo the first to officially do so under an Arab deal to end a long-running dispute with Doha. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt agreed earlier this month to restore diplomatic, trade and travel ties severed in 2017 over allegations Qatar supported terrorism, a charge that Doha denies.
CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt and Qatar have agreed to resume diplomatic relations, the Egyptian foreign ministry said on Wednesday, making Cairo the first to officially do so under an Arab deal to end a long-running dispute with Doha.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt agreed earlier this month to restore diplomatic, trade and travel ties severed in 2017 over allegations Qatar supported terrorism, a charge that Doha denies.
"The 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 relations," a Foreign Ministry statement said.
There was no immediate comment from Qatari officials.
On Saturday, Saudi Arabia's foreign minister said the kingdom expects to reopen its embassy in Qatar within days, and full diplomatic relations between the two would resume.
The UAE, which followed Riyadh in reopening all entry points to Qatar, has said restoring diplomatic ties will take time. Bahrain has reopened its air space to Qatar, as has Egypt.
The U.S.-backed accord to end the row was one of a series of Middle East deals by former U.S. President Donald Trump's administration aimed at building a united front against Iran.
When the boycott was announced, Egypt and its allies called on Qatar to cut ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, among other demands. Doha said the embargo aimed to curtail its sovereignty.
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 Muslim Brotherhood'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 in a meeting with Egyptian and Emirati security officials on Saturday that Qatar would not interfere in Egypt's internal affairs, two Egyptian intelligence sources told Reuters.
He also pledged a change of orientation for Qatar's al-Jazeera television channel, which is state-funded, and state-owned media outlets towards Cairo, the sources said.
Qatar's foreign minister had said in televised remarks after the Arab deal was announced that Al Jazeera is an independent media institution.
The Egyptian intelligence sources also said the officials agreed on economic cooperation and a series of meetings on outstanding issues such as Libya and the Muslim Brotherhood.
The officials agreed to restore diplomatic relations between Egypt and Qatar "under probation," as one source put it.
(Reporting by Mahmoud Mourad and Ahmed Mohamed Hassan; Additional reporting by Ghaida Ghantous in Dubai; Editing by Giles Elgood and Mark Heinrich)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.