Gulf | Qatar

Qatar rejects Egypt dominance claims

PM dismisses reports Doha seeks role in Suez Canal

  • By Habib Toumi, Bureau chief
  • Published: 14:44 January 9, 2013
  • Gulf News

Manama: Qatar’s prime minister has dismissed claims that his country was seeking to dominate Egypt’s politics and economy as “silly jokes.”

Addressing a press conference in Cairo after Qatar said that it would double its financial aid to Egypt to a total of $5 billion in grants and bank deposits, Shaikh Hamad Bin Jassem Al Thani said that his country respected all countries, regardless of their size, and did not interfere in their domestic affairs.

“I consider the comments about a Qatari dominance of Egypt as a joke, but it is a silly one because Egypt with its great human and economic assets and potentials cannot be dominated by any other country. The Emir has publicly recognised Egypt’s pioneering role as the largest Arab country and we always rely on Egypt. We want to see an economically and politically strong and stable Egypt,” he said.

Shaikh Hamad, also Qatar’s foreign minister, said that the issue of an alleged Qatari dominance was a politically motivated domestic matter.

“This Qatari dominance was regretfully used by some people for the local consumption of domestic political issues of concern to Egypt. We do not interfere in the domestic affairs of any country, be it small or large. The people of Egypt are the ones who choose their leaders. The Egyptian government charters the course that Egypt takes. There is an elected president and an appointed government and we deal officially with the party that Egyptians elect,” he said.

Shaikh Hamad denied reports that Qatar planned to have a role in the Suez canal.

“We did not mention the Suez canal in our talks. We heard about this matter only in the Egyptian media. We did not talk about developing, buying or selling and the Egyptian government did not make any offer. To us, the Suez canal is a major vein for Egypt and a component of its heritage and potential. Again, we are here dealing with an issue for political consumption within Egypt and we were unfortunately included in it,” he said.

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