CAIRO: Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said on Thursday that his recent visit to Doha, where he met Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, inspired a mutual desire to restore strong relations between the two countries.
In a press conference in Cairo with Foreign Minister of Luxembourg Jean Asselborn, Shoukry said that during his visit to Doha, he discussed the many issues that had accumulated during the years in which Qatar was boycotted by the Anti-Terror Quartet — Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
On June 5, 2017, the four nations cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, closing borders and airspace and imposing an economic blockade. The decision was based on “Qatar’s embrace of various terrorist and sectarian groups supported by Iran,” as reported earlier.
Shoukry said that many of the issues “were dealt with appropriately” and that both countries affirmed a mutual desire to restore “brotherhood and solidarity relations.”
“I was honored to meet Qatar’s emir. The meeting was positive,” Shoukry said, adding that the emir expressed keenness to reestablish friendly relations and to take into account and resolve all the issues that had previously complicated ties between the two countries.
Shoukry also referred to the consultative meeting of the Arab League Council in Doha at the request of Egypt and Sudan on the issue of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which Ethiopia is building on the Nile River.
A decision was made to support the Egyptian-Sudanese position and their water rights. The need for Ethiopia to be more flexible and reach a binding legal agreement on the issue of filling the dam was also addressed.
Shoukry said that Egypt wishes to reach a solution on the issue of the dam through negotiations.
For 10 years, Cairo has been trying to reach an agreement that takes into consideration common property rights in the Nile River, Shoukry said. He stressed that the Ethiopian people have a right to development but must exercise it without harming downstream countries Egypt and Sudan.
He said that Cairo’s goal is to show flexibility and provide an opportunity for the “Ethiopian brothers” to improve their standard of living.
“We have not yet sensed a political will from Addis Ababa to sign the agreement that was drafted in Washington … Ethiopia continues to be intransigent and repudiates agreements,” he added.