Egypt's Sisi, Qatar's Tamim unlikely to meet soon: Sources

CAIRO – Egyptian political sources on Monday ruled out the possibility that Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi would hold a summit meeting with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani in coming days.

The sources said, however, that the door for a possible summit meeting between the two leaders remained "ajar."

The sources, including one close to the Egyptian presidency and another close to the Foreign Ministry, said the two men had no plans to meet following al-Sisi's current visit to China.

They said Egypt wanted to be sure of Qatar's "goodwill" before a meeting was scheduled between the emir and the president.

"Cairo does not have any plans right now for an urgent summit meeting with Doha," a source close to the Egyptian presidency said.

An Egyptian Foreign Ministry source likewise ruled out the possibility that an Egyptian-Qatari summit meeting would be held following al-Sisi's current visit to China.

"Nothing has changed so far between Egypt and Qatar at the diplomatic level," the source said. "Egypt's ambassador to Qatar is still in Cairo."

Both sources, however, said that a number of different scenarios could play out in the future.  

-Mediation-

Saudi Arabian efforts recently succeeded in partially thawing relations between Cairo and Doha – two Arab capitals whose relations deteriorated dramatically following the ouster of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi by the army.

Qatari media, including Al Jazeera's Mubasher Misr news channel, regularly described Morsi's ouster as a military coup and allowed the ousted president's supporters to criticize Egypt's post-Morsi authorities.

Cairo had viewed this as "interference" in its domestic affairs. Egypt had also asked Qatar to deport several Morsi supporters and opponents wanted by the Egyptian authorities.

On Saturday, however, a special envoy dispatched by the emir of Qatar met the Egyptian president in Cairo for the first time since the latter came to power in June of this year.

A short time later, Saudi Arabia said both Cairo and Doha had accepted its initiative for reconciliation.

Shortly after the two Egyptian sources made their remarks, Al Jazeera's Mubasher Misr news channel announced that it was halting transmission.

Some observers saw the channel's closure as a byproduct of the unfolding détente between Cairo and Doha.

-Meeting this month-

Some political experts, meanwhile, expect an Egyptian-Qatari summit meeting to be held within one month.

They said the meeting would not be held before Egypt had confirmed Qatar's "goodwill," noting that this would serve to delay the Egyptian ambassador's return to Doha.

Anwar Maged Eshqi, director of the Middle East Center for Strategic and Legal Studies, a think tank, expects the summit meeting to be held within two weeks.

He said media personnel critical of Egypt would be removed so that others could see the country's positive side.

"There will also be assurances that Qatar's relations with other countries must not come at the expense of Egypt," Eshqi told The Anadolu Agency.

Eshqi noted, however, that the Egyptian president may visit Riyadh – where he is expected to meet Qatar's emir – following his current visit to China.

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