Egypt, Qatar officially restore diplomatic relations

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry announced on Wednesday that Cairo and Doha have exchanged two official memoranda, according to which the two countries agree to resume diplomatic relations, effective January 20.

The agreements come after nearly four years of a row between Qatar and Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the UAE over Qatar’s alleged terrorism sponsorship and its close relations with Iran.

A statement from Egypt’s Foreign Ministry acknowledged the agreements, which came as part of the “solidarity and stability” agreement signed by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Qatar during the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)’s summit meeting in al-Ula, Saudi Arabia earlier in January.

Egypt and the other three countries involved in the dispute agreed to restore ties with Qatar immediately after the summit. It is unclear what, if anything, Doha committed to in the agreement.

The dispute included a trade and travel embargo against Qatar by the Arab quartet, which has now been lifted.

The Egyptian Ministry of Civil Aviation decided to reopen Egyptian airspace to Qatari aviation on Tuesday, January 12, and Qatar Airways announced the resumption of flights to and from Egypt starting January 18, with a daily flight to Cairo and two weekly flights to Alexandria. 

Despite the agreement, Egypt likely remains wary of Qatar due to its connections with the Muslim Brotherhood and the harsh coverage Cairo receives from Qatari media, specifically state-run Al Jazeera.

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