Egypt's president and Qatari emir meet on sidelines of Baghdad summit

Talks between Abdel Fattah El Sisi and Sheikh Tamim come as their countries push ahead with normalising relations

The leaders of Egypt and Qatar held talks on Saturday in Baghdad, the first such meeting between the two nations’ heads of state in nearly a decade.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and Sheikh Tamim, the Emir of Qatar, met on the sidelines of a summit in Iraq's capital.

The Iraqi government hopes the Baghdad Conference for Co-operation and Partnership will secure regional and international support for the country and reduce tensions in the region.

The Egyptian-Qatari meeting was reported by Mr El Sisi’s media office in a statement that said the two leaders discussed bilateral relations.

It was the most significant step to date by the two Arab nations as they normalise relations after nearly a decade of tension.

Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain severed ties with Qatar in June 2017.

In January, the five nations signed Al Ula Declaration to end the diplomatic and travel boycott of Qatar and to mend relations. They’ve since reopened their air space and borders.

In June, Mr El Sisi appointed an ambassador to Qatar.

Last year, the Egyptian leader met in Cairo with Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman, who is also deputy prime minister.

Relations between Cairo and Doha were tense even before 2017.

In 2013, Mr El Sisi, as defence minister, led the military’s removal from power of Mohammed Morsi, an Islamist president backed by Qatar.

His removal led to years of animosity between Egypt and Qatar.

Qatari commercial interests in Egypt, a mix of state and private investments mainly in hotels, banking and property, were largely unaffected by the tensions.

The Arab countries invited to Iraq's Baghdad summit on Saturday were the UAE, Jordan, Egypt, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Iran, Turkey and France were also invited.

Representatives of the permanent members of the UN Security Council, the EU, members of the G20 group, the Gulf Co-operation Council and the Arab League attended as observers.

Updated: August 28th 2021, 6:10 PM