Egypt’s el-Sisi says Saudi-led bloc position on Qatar ‘unchanged’

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Egypt's el-Sisi says Saudi-led bloc position on Qatar 'unchanged'
Egypt's el-Sisi says Saudi-led bloc position on Qatar 'unchanged':File Photo

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has said that the position of the Saudi-led bloc on relations with Qatar remains unchanged.

Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt severed diplomatic and trade ties with Doha in June 2017.

“I affirm that nothing has changed,” el-Sisi said in a reply to a question at the closing session of a youth forum in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh on Tuesday.

“There are efforts being exerted and we hope this effort will succeed,” he said, without giving further details.

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“We are talking about building confidence and healthy relations.”

Qatar has faced a blockade since June 2017 when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic and trade ties with Doha.

The four countries accuse Qatar of supporting “terrorism”. Doha has denied the allegations and accused its neighbours of seeking to curtail its sovereignty.

In recent weeks, there have been signs pointing to a possible thaw in relations between Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

In November, the three Gulf blockading countries took part in a regional football tournament in Qatar, reversing at the last minute an earlier decision to not participate.

But on Monday, Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said it was premature to talk about real progress with Saudi Arabia over the blockade. He added, however, opening channels of communication between Doha and Riyadh was a step forward.

Sheikh Mohammed said it will take time to rebuild trust between Qatar and its Gulf neighbours after the two-and-a-half-year air, sea, and land blockade was imposed.

Egypt’s el-Sisi has said that Saudi-led bloc position on Qatar ‘unchanged’.