President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt has held talks with Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, who is visiting Cairo for the first time in years.
The talks on Saturday focused on ties between the two nations and a set of other regional and global topics, according to a brief statement from the Egyptian presidency.
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Al Thani arrived at the Itihadiya presidential palace in Cairo for talks with el-Sisi. Both leaders inspected an honour guard and bands played the national anthems of Egypt and Qatar, a livestream of the welcoming ceremony posted by the Egyptian presidency showed.
Egypt’s state-run al-Ahram daily reported the talks aimed at ensuring the “full normalisation” of ties between the two nations after resuming their relations early in 2021.
During the visit, an Egyptian-Qatari business council will meet with the aim of improving trade and investments between the countries.
Qatar announced in March an investment of $5bn in Egypt’s economy, which was hit badly by the repercussions of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Arriving in Cairo late on Friday, Sheikh Tamim was received by el-Sisi at the airport where they greeted each other with a handshake and cheek kisses on the tarmac.
The visit, unthinkable just a few years ago, and the warm welcome at the airport showed the rapid improvement of ties between the two nations since the end of a boycott of Doha by four Arab states, including Egypt.
The visit also comes ahead of US President Joe Biden’s anticipated trip to the Middle East next month. Both el-Sisi and Sheikh Tamim will attend a Saudi Arabia-hosted summit with the US president. The summit will include the leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Iraq and Egypt.
Egypt’s ties with Qatar deteriorated in 2013 when el-Sisi, as defence minister, led the military’s overthrow of the democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi after his short-lived rule. Morsi was backed by Qatar.
In 2017, Egypt joined Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in a boycott of Qatar in an effort to force Doha to change its policies. The rift finally ended in 2021, when Qatar signed a declaration with the four to normalise relations. Since then, ties have improved, and top officials have exchanged visits.
The Egyptian president has since met Sheikh Tamim twice.