Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Monday that Egypt has cut diplomatic relations with Qatar, shutting down Egyptian airfield and ports to all Qatari means of transport, according to a press statement.
The ministry gave the Qatari ambassador to Egypt 48 hours to leave the country, according to local media.
The ministry explained its reasoning by claiming that Qatar showed “persistence in adopting a stance against Egypt,” supporting the Muslim Brotherhood group, lodging MB leaders, targeting Egypt’s security, promoting Al-Qaeda’s and the Islamic State’s (IS) ideology, and interfering in Egypt’s and other countries’ internal affairs. Cairo said that all previous attempts to stop Qatar from supporting terrorist organisations did not succeed.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs further explained in the statement that Egypt is working on the required procedures to inform neighbouring countries and companies about the process of their transport from Egypt to Qatar.
Egypt’s announcement followed similar announcements by Bahrain, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to cut diplomatic ties with their neighbour Qatar.
Tensions between Egypt, Gulf countries, and Qatar culminated following alleged statements by the Emir of Qatar published in May on Qatar’s state-owned news agency QENA, accusing Egypt and the Gulf states of conducting campaigns against Qatar’s image by claiming that Qatar supports terrorism, adding that these countries should “reconsider their antagonistic stance against Qatar.”
Although Qatari authorities claimed that QENA was hacked, denying the statements, various Arab media outlets questioned the validity of the statements, especially as Qatari relations with these countries have been rather tense in recent years.
Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sameh Shoukry, responded to the alleged statements during a televised interview on a privately owned TV channel, saying that “patience has limits.”
lusion of Qatari support for Iran particularly was among the most provocative parts for the Gulf states and Egypt.
Earlier in May, during the US-Arab-Islamic summit in Saudi Arabia—which was attended by the Gulf states, Qatar, and Egypt, among other countries—several Arab leaders as well as US president Donald Trump expressed that Iran was the biggest supporter of terrorism in the region.
Furthermore, Kamal explained that such decisions would not affect Egypt’s relations with the biggest political powers, the United States and Europe, adding that Egyptian-Qatari relations were already almost frozen; on the contrary, it would enhance Egypt’s relations with the Gulf states.
“I believe that the decision came after coordination with Gulf states. Proof of this is that the Saudi minister of foreign affairs was received by his Egyptian counterpart,” he added, as Egypt’s Sameh Shoukry met with Saudi’s Adel Al-Jubair, hours before the decision was announced.
Since 2013, Egyptian-Qatari relations have witnessed diplomatic tension, as Qatar expressed its support to Egypt’s ousted president Mohamed Morsi, who was affiliated to the brotherhood.
Morsi received a death sentence on charges of spying for Qatar; however, the sentence is still in the appeals stage.