Egypt holds first meeting with Qatar since reconciliation deal

“The two sides welcomed measures each has taken since signing the al-Ula statement, as a step on the path of building confidence between the two fraternal countries,” a statement after the meeting of Qatari and Egyptian delegates in Kuwait said.
Sunday 28/02/2021
Kuwait’s Emir Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Sabah attends the Gulf Cooperation Council’s (GCC) 41st Summit in Al-Ula, Saudi Arabia January 5, 2021.  REUTERS
Kuwait’s Emir Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Sabah attends the Gulf Cooperation Council’s (GCC) 41st Summit in Al-Ula, Saudi Arabia January 5, 2021. (REUTERS)

DUBAI--Delegations from Qatar and Egypt met in Kuwait on Tuesday for the first time since an agreement last month to end a rift, both countries’ foreign ministries said, in a further push to bury a Gulf Arab diplomatic feud with repercussions around the Middle East.

“The two sides welcomed measures each has taken since signing the Al-Ula statement, as a step on the path of building confidence between the two fraternal countries,” a statement after the meeting of Qatari and Egyptian delegates in Kuwait said.

The two sides also discussed “the necessary means and measures to be taken in order to enhance the march of joint work and bilateral relations between the two countries, and to achieve the aspirations of their peoples in terms of security, stability and development,” the statement added.

Qatar on Monday similarly met a delegation from the United Arab Emirates in Kuwait for their first bilateral talks.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt agreed in January at a summit in Saudi’s al-Ula to restore diplomatic, trade and travel ties with Doha, which had been severed in 2017 over accusations that Qatar supported terrorism, a charge it denies.

Qatar’s Amir receives Kuwaiti DM on Sabah Al-Ahmad Corridor’s opening, Feb 24, 2021. (KUNA)
Qatar’s Amir receives Kuwaiti DM on Sabah Al-Ahmad Corridor’s opening, Feb 24, 2021. (KUNA)

Since the agreement, air and travel links have resumed between Qatar and the four states. Each state is to arrange bilateral talks with Qatar to resolve individual issues.

Bahrain’s foreign ministry said last month it had written to Qatar inviting Doha to send a delegation to Bahrain to start bilateral talks to implement the Al-Ula agreement. Qatar has not yet responded, Bahrain’s foreign minister has said.

Washington has strong ties with all the states involved, including Qatar, which hosts the largest US military base in the region, and has seen the rift as a threat to efforts to contain Iran. It has pushed for a united Gulf front.

The row also rattled Arab power politics in the region, where Gulf states have used their financial and political clout to influence events in Libya, Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Yemen.