El-Sisi’s Doha visit ends as Egypt and Qatar signal stronger ties

Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi signed a number of deals in Doha.

Qatar's Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamed al-Thani meets with Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Doha, Qatar September 13, 2022.
Qatar's emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamed Al Thani meets Egypt's President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in Doha, Qatar, September 13, 2022 [Qatar News Agency/Handout via Reuters]

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has concluded his two-day visit to Qatar after a meeting with the Gulf state’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, and the signing of a number of deals between the two countries.

The visit, which began on Tuesday, followed a trip by Sheikh Tamim to Egypt in June, and was a sign of warming ties.

“[There are] a lot of deals on the table when it comes to business investments and the economy,” said Al Jazeera’s Stefanie Dekker, reporting from Qatar’s capital, Doha. “In the words of the official Qatari news agency, this is a new era in relations between the two countries.”

In 2017, Egypt, along with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, boycotted Qatar in an attempt to force Doha to change its regional policies.

The boycott ended in 2021 when the four countries normalised relations with Qatar.

Wednesday’s meeting between Sheikh Tamim and el-Sisi saw the signing of three memorandums of understanding, including one between their respective sovereign wealth funds.

In a tweet on Wednesday, Sheikh Tamim said: “I was pleased by the visit to Doha by my brother President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, which strengthened Qatari-Egyptian relations and allowed us to discuss ways to achieve the aspirations of our two brotherly peoples in strengthening those relations, as well serving the causes of our Arab and Islamic nations, and supporting security, peace and stability in our region.”

This week’s visit was el-Sisi’s first since becoming Egypt’s president in 2014, after overthrowing the previous president, Mohammed Morsi, in a military coup. Morsi had warm relations with Qatar.

Egypt has been attempting to attract foreign investment as the country faces a shortage of food supplies in the wake of the war in Ukraine, as well as other economic problems.

In late March, the Egyptian government said Qatar planned to invest $5bn in Egypt, while hydrocarbon giant QatarEnergy announced an agreement with United States energy company ExxonMobil to acquire a 40 percent stake in a gas exploration block off Egypt in the Mediterranean Sea.

An estimated 350,000 Egyptians work in Qatar, sending home hundreds millions of dollars in remittances annually.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies