The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) denied it commented on Gulf-Egyptian relations, following media reports that it condemned Egypt’s accusations of Qatar “supporting terrorism”.
GCC Secretary General Abdul Latif Al-Zayani said he rejects the accusations Egypt’s representative to the Arab League made towards Qatar. He described them as “false accusations that defy the truth and ignore the sincere efforts of the State of Qatar with its sister countries in the Council to combat terrorism and extremism at all levels”, AFP reported.
Al-Zayani’s comments follow a Thursday session attended by Arab League delegations who assembled after the Egyptian air raids on Libya.
Qatar recalled its ambassador to Cairo, one day after after the GCC session, AFP also said.
Mohammed Ezz Al-Arab, an expert at Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, said Qatar’s foreign policy towards Egypt is ambiguous. “[Qatar] points towards certain directions, but differs from them in action,” he said.
The GCC issued a statement Friday in which Al-Zayani stressed that the GCC states have always sought to support and sustain Egypt in all areas.
Al-Zayani stressed that the GCC stands fully with Egypt and its people in the fight against terrorism and protecting its citizens at home and abroad. He also stressed the GCC’s supports for Egypt’s military action against terrorist groups in Libya.
The statement added that GCC countries recognise the importance of cohesion and integration with Egypt, considering that the security and stability of Egypt translates into the GCC’s stability. This comes especially in light of accurate and sensitive circumstances in the region and the entire world, which requires close interconnection.
The change in Egypt’s government, following the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi caused a split in the GCC. This saw the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait pledging billions of dollars in financial support for Egypt. The three countries pledged more than $12bn in aid to Egypt.
The Gulf nations, with the exception of Qatar, have been supportive of Egypt’s interim government since the overthrow of Morsi in July 2013.
Qatar is portrayed in the Egyptian media as a supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is now banned in Egypt, and has been listed as a “terrorist organisation” since December 2013.
Qatar was against Morsi’s ouster, and the ties between Egypt and Qatar have been strained since then, resulting in Qatar’s withdrawal its Egyptian ambassador.
Qatar was a firm supporter of Morsi, lending Egypt $7.5bn in aid during his year in power, and promising billions of dollars in investments. Much of this aid has now either been returned or cancelled by the new army-backed government, and many of the former president’s supporters fled Egypt to Qatar following his ouster.
However, Qatar decided in September to expel seven Muslim Brotherhood members who had earlier fled there.
Saudi Arabia has played the role of mediator between Egypt and Qatar in recent months, with a recent slight change in Qatar’s foreign policy towards Egypt achieved.
Qatar’s behaviour since the death of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah last month are back to where they were. Al Jazeera’s coverage, inciting the toppling of the current Egyptian regime, continues, and false leaks that strain the Egyptian-Gulf relations have been published, Ezz Al-Arab said.
“The Egyptian-Qatari relations take a step further and then two steps back. The coming role to pressure Qatar may be played by Saudi Arabia, along with the UAE,” he added.
Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani has accepted an invitation to attend the Economic Summit due to take place in Sharm El-Sheikh in March.
Adel Al-Adawi, a former assistant to the Egyptian foreign minister, previously told Daily News Egypt that he welcomed a possible reconciliation with Qatar.
“Egypt has its arms wide open to everyone, unless they interfere in Egypt’s internal affairs,” he said.”We have no enmity towards anyone, but we also do not want anyone to be hostile against us.”