Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

Egypt/Qatar … New Era in Relations

Fri 03 Mar 2023 | 02:19 PM
Monica William, Political Researcher
Monica William, Political Researcher
Monica William, Political Researcher

Egypt has played and still plays a leading role in supporting Arab policies, foremost among which are those concerning issues such as the Arab-Israeli conflict, Iraq and Libya.

In this context, Egyptian diplomacy seeks to maintain strong bilateral and multilateral relationships, which is another essential goal of Egypt’s general policy, so it works on two pillars: Strengthening traditional friendly relations as well as building new relationships enables Egypt to exercise influence and pursue its national interest all over the globe.

It is also committed to boosting Egypt’s strategic relationships, which helps Egypt in its sustainable development efforts and promotes its role in the international arena, as well as serving its strategic regional objectives.

Traditional relationships, such as those with African and Arab countries, are maintained primarily through interaction within regional organizations, such as the African Union and the Arab League. Bilateral relations with Arab and African countries are also promoted through continuous consultations, widening the scope of cooperation in various fields and exchanging expertise in the different areas of development.

In this context, Egypt gave priority to forging a partnership with the Arab countries especially in a rapidly changing world.

Therefore, we can highlight that the ice was broken between Egypt and Qatar and the two countries are now exchanging phrases of " bilateral relations", especially after President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi received Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdel Rahman May 25 and the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad, invited Al-Sisi to visit Doha which Demonstrates a warming of relations between Egypt and Qatar consolidating and restoring diplomatic ties.

There are many reasons for this reconciliation which can be summarized as follows:

For economic reasons, more than 300,000 Egyptians live in Qatar, who periodically transfer money to their country, and this can affect positively on Egyptian economy which is impacted by multiple global shock, moreover there are huge Qatari investments in Egypt, whether for the government or businessmen.

In addition, Egypt’s reconciliation with Qatar is not just about economic considerations, there is a political reason as well as many issues of mutual concern, due to the map of regional alliances, Qatar needs Egypt’s backing to advance its mediation initiatives and conflict resolution in some of the most prolonged regional conflicts, thus it clearly recognizes Cairo’s importance and centrality within Middle Eastern politics.

In this regard, Egypt and Qatar have played active roles in the mediation between Hamas and Israel for reaching a ceasefire. Indeed, the Palestinian issue considered a fundamental meeting point between the two countries, and could constitute another communication channel between them

Libya’s future is the second largest cooperative file between the two sides as turmoil and terrorism in the North African country pose a threat to Egypt’s security, So Doha is likely to Play a vital role in preparing a new formula for a settlement in Libya through containing Turkish encroachment.

And this reconciliation is reflected on different levels… so what is the impact on the ground?

Firstly, the frequency of high-level visits and exchanges between Egypt and Qatar has gone up significant lately, and the most recent one is the visit of Egyptian prime minister to Doha on 27/2/2023, who held an expanded discussion session with Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani, Prime Minister and Minister of Interior in the sisterly State of Qatar and A Vision Statement and a Joint Statement were issued during the visit.

This visit comes in response to an invitation from Qatar’s Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdul-Aziz Al-Thaniand, which is reflected the willingness of the two countries to develop bilateral relations in various fields of mutual interest.

Secondly, the increasing of the value of Qatari investments in Egypt during the first quarter of the fiscal year (2021-2022) by 4.2% compared to the same period last year.

Moreover, the value of trade exchange between Egypt and Qatar jumped to $44.8 million in 2021, compared to $25.4 million in 2020, an increase of 76.4% as well as the value of Egyptian exports to Qatar increased by about $4.5 million in 2021, compared to $395,000 in 2020, a percentage. An increase of 1049.1%, and the value of Egyptian imports from Qatar recorded $40.3m in 2021 compared to $25m in 2020, an increase of 61.1%.

With regard to remittances of Egyptians working in Qatar, which increased to $1.34 billion during the fiscal year 2019-2020, an increase of 4.3% over the previous fiscal year.

So, the data which is mentioned above reflecting the improvement of relationship, which has potential to continue growing in light of the outcome of the Egyptian prime minister’s visit to Doha especially the following procedures:

• Creating a joint investment fund.

• two sides inked a dual taxation elimination agreement, which should have a tangible impact on increasing Qatari investments in Egypt.

• Signing three MOUs in terms of paving the way for broader Egyptian-Qatari cooperation in healthcare sector (three Qatari conglomerates Investment Holding Group, Al Qamra Holding Group, and Aamal Company could invest in Egyptian healthcare sector).

Last but not least, Activating the role of a joint committee headed by the foreign ministers of the two sides to continue cooperation and consultation given how much both sides are vested in stronger bilateral ties.

In conclusion Egyptian-Qatari relations have entered a new, advanced stage within the framework of reconciliation between the two countries which would serve the mutual goals and interests, as well as enhance efforts to maintain the security and stability of the Arab region, therefore their cooperation is crucial to tackling global challenges under the current circumstances.