CAIRO (Dispatches) – Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani in Baghdad on Saturday, the Egyptian presidency said, the first meeting since the two countries agreed in January to end a long-running dispute.
Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain had agreed to end the dispute that saw them boycott Qatar since 2017 over charges it supports radical groups, which Doha denies.
Egypt and Qatar exchanged the appointment of ambassadors in June and August respectively in a sign of improved relations.
“During the meeting, it was agreed on the importance of continuing consultation and working to advance relations between the two countries during the next stage,” the Egyptian presidency statement said.
Several Middle Eastern leaders and French President Emmanuel Macron met in Baghdad on Saturday at a summit hosted by Iraq, which wants its neighbors to resolve the issues in the region.
The meeting comes a day A senior United Arab Emirates (UAE) official has held talks with Qatar’s emir in Doha, in the first such visit in four years following a deal earlier this year to end a bitter row.
National Security Adviser Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a brother of Abu Dhabi’s crown prince and the UAE’s de facto ruler, met Qatar’s ruling Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the emir’s office and the UAE state news agency said on Thursday.
Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt agreed in January to end the dispute in which they had severed ties with Qatar in mid-2017.
Riyadh and Cairo have appointed ambassadors to Doha, but Abu Dhabi and Manama have yet to do so.
Sheikh Tahnoun and the Qatari emir discussed strengthening cooperation particularly in economic and trade areas and in investment projects, UAE state news agency WAM reported.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE have sought to contain regional tensions.
Sheikh Tahnoun’s visit to Doha follows another rare trip that he made last week to Turkey, an ally of Qatar.
The UAE has been at odds with Turkey on several regional issues, including over the conflict in Libya where the two states have backed rival sides.
Turkey has also moved to overcome tensions with Saudi Arabia and Egypt that have hurt the Turkish economy.
Another senior Emirati official said last week the UAE was “building bridges” as it focuses on economic development in its domestic and foreign policy.