- Special Pages
The Prime Minister and Foreign Minister H E Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabor Al Thani with Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi in Cairo yesterday.
DOHA/Cairo: Qatar yesterday rubbished talk that it wants to dominate Egypt and said such suggestions were nothing but
The Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, H E Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabor Al Thani, told reporters in Cairo that Qatar and Egypt enjoyed a warm and strong relationship.
“We appreciate the role of Egypt in Arab politics and regional issues. Egypt is the largest Arab country,” the Premier said, rejecting the talk of Doha wanting to dominate Cairo as
Replying to questions at a news briefing, he said that the talk of Qatar wanting to dominate Egypt was for local political consumption. “It concerns Egyptians, not Qatar.”
Qatar does not interfere in any country’s internal matters. “Egyptians have elected their president and a government and we are cooperating with them. We can’t dominate Egypt,” he said.
The Premier said he heard that in the Egyptian media there was this baseless talk of Qatar buying the Suez Canal. “Well, Qatar has never been made an offer. Suez Canal is Egypt’s lifeline. Qatar is being unnecessarily dragged into all this.” He reiterated that Egypt was playing a key role in looking after and protecting Arab interests and Qatar was highly appreciative of that. Asked about souring relations between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Egypt, the Premier said things would soon settle down as both the countries have strong and historical ties.
Qatar, as a matter of policy, doesn’t want differences among Arab countries, the Premier said. He was addressing the news briefing jointly with his Egyptian counterpart Dr Hisham Qandil, after meeting President Mohammed Mursi.
Qandil said Qatar and Egypt were determined to further bilateral and economic ties. A delegation is due in Cairo next week, led by Qatar’s Minister of Economy and Finance, H E Yousuf Hussein Kamal, comprising experts to look for ways to bolster economic ties between the two sides. He said Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem’s meeting with Mursi also focused on bilateral and economic relations as well as on regional issues, including those of Palestine and Syria. The issue of how to rebuild Gaza was also taken up for discussion between the two leaders, as aid flows to Gaza take place via Egypt. Meanwhile, the Premier announced to lend another $2bn to Egypt and an extra $500m outright to help it ride over a currency crisis.
“There was an initial package of $2.5bn, of which $500m was a grant and $2bn a deposit,” the Premier told reporters, referring to the aid it has provided since Egypt’s uprising two years ago. “We discussed transferring one of the deposits into an additional grant so that the grants became $1bn and the deposits doubled to around $4bn,” he said of the new package. The Premier said that the new grants and deposits with Egypt’s central bank had all arrived. “Some of the final details with the deposits are being worked on with the technical people, but the amount is there.”
Egypt, meanwhile, said it expected an International Monetary Fund (IMF) technical committee to visit Cairo in two to three weeks’ to resume talks on a crucial $4.8bn loan to plug balance of payments and budget deficits. The Peninsula