Qatari intel chief in talks with Egypt officials

Egyptian and Qatari intelligence officials have met in Cairo to discuss reconciliation as part of Saudi-brokered efforts to end an 18-month standoff over Doha's support of the Muslim Brotherhood, sources said.

Qatari intel chief in talks with Egypt officials

World Bulletin/News Desk

Qatari intelligence chief Ahmed bin Nasser bin Jassem is currently holding talks with Egyptian officials in Cairo to prepare for an upcoming joint summit between President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi and Qatari Emir Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, a local Egyptian newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Bin Jassem landed in Cairo Monday evening and has since then sat down with some Egyptian officials to discuss an agenda for the summit, during which reconciliation between Cairo and Doha will be officially announced, private daily Al-Masry Al-Youm quoted a senior Egyptian official as saying.

Bin Jassem reportedly met with a senior Egyptian security official in Cairo on Tuesday, where the two discussed "how the Brotherhood took advantage of Qatar and Al Jazeera to encourage violence in an attempt to overthrow the regime in Egypt," the official told the newspaper.

"We have no problem with criticism but it should be professional," the official said.

He went on to predict "improvement" in Egyptian-Qatari relations. "The two countries have the same interests," he reportedly said.

Relations between Cairo and Doha have deteriorated markedly since last year's military ouster of president Mohamed Morsi, Egypt's first freely elected president and a leading member in the now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood movement, following massive protests against his single year in office.

Egypt had accused Doha, which had been a key ally to the Morsi administration, of interfering in its affairs by supporting the Brotherhood and hosting a number of wanted Brotherhood figures following Morsi's ouster in July of last year.

In a September interview with CNN held on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Sheikh Tamim described Morsi's ouster as a "military coup."

Cairo has been incensed by Qatar's coverage of developments in Egypt and what it describes as biased news coverage by the Qatari-owned Al Jazeera's Mubasher Misr channel.

Relations, however, began to improve between Egypt and Qatar in recent months following mediation efforts by Arab Gulf countries.

It was unclear if the journalists' case was discussed in the intelligence officials' talks.

But the Australian foreign minister said on Wednesday the case of Australian Peter Greste was "under consideration" by high levels of the Egyptian government and she hoped for his release by the end of the year.

Sisi has been reluctant to interfere in judicial cases but suggested last month he might pardon Greste, Canadian-Egyptian Mohamed Fahmy, and Egyptian Baher Mohamed.

A diplomatic source in the Gulf told Reuters the talks also covered Qatari involvement in Libya, where two governments vie for legitimacy and threaten to destabilise neighbours.

The source said Egyptian intelligence was checking Qatar had ceased alleged funding of rebel groups in Egypt before any reconciliation.

"Egyptian authorities understand that not all their demands will be met right away ... but they have to make sure Qatar is serious and not just making a few cosmetic changes," he said.

Veteran Kuwaiti journalist Ahmed Al-Jarallah had told The Anadolu Agency that al-Sisi and the Qatari leader will meet in Saudi capital Riyadh early next month.

He said that some of the demands were related to Cairo's desire that Doha does not host some "wanted" Brotherhood figures.

On Saturday, a special envoy dispatched by the Qatari emir met with al-Sisi in Cairo for the first time since the latter came to power in June of this year.

On Monday, the Doha-based Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr news channel, devoted to covering news from Egypt, said that it was suspending broadcasts from the Qatari capital until "conditions are favorable" for resuming work from Egypt.

Some observers saw the channel's closure as a byproduct of the unfolding détente between Cairo and Doha.

Al-Jarallah had said he expected Egypt's ambassador to Doha – who was recalled by Egypt months ago – to return to Qatar, even before al-Sisi's meeting with the Qatari emir.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 24 Aralık 2014, 14:46

Muhammed Öylek