Cairo: Egyptian President Abdul Fattah Al Sissi and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman ruled out concessions on restoration of ties with Qatar unless the latter meets certain demands earlier made by an Arab Quartet, Al Arabiya television reported. Crown Prince Mohammad arrived in Egypt on Monday on a two-day visit that is part of a regional tour that has already took him to the UAE and Bahrain.
He was due to leave Egypt later Tuesday for Tunisia.
Last year, the UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain broke off diplomatic and transportation links with Qatar over its support for terrorist groups.
The Quartet’s demands include a halt to sponsoring of terrorism, handing over wanted militants, shutting down the Doha-based Al Jazeera network and downgrading links with Iran, accused of inciting unrest in Arab countries.
At their talks in Cairo, Al Sissi and Prince Mohammad demanded Qatar comply with the demands before reconciliation can be reached with Doha, Al Arabiya reported. Qatar is a staunch backer of the Muslim Brotherhood, which Egypt and Saudi Arabia have outlawed.
Cairo and Riyadh also emphasised keenness to confront Iranian interference in the Arab region. Iran is a patron of Al Houthi militants in Yemen where Saudi Arabia is leading an Arab military coalition.
Al Sissi on Tuesday reassured Prince Mohammad the kingdom’s stability is part of Egypt’s national security, a presidential statement said following their talks at Al Itahdiya Palace in Cairo.
The Egyptian leader also confirmed “depth and strength” of a strategic alliance between Egypt and Saudi Arabia, added the statement.
“President Al Sissi stressed during the meeting Egypt’s keenness to consolidate cooperation and coordination with Saudi Arabia at the highest level to confront successive developments in the Middle East,” presidential spokesman Bassam Radi said.
“They, moreover, discussed the Yemeni issue and the necessary political solutions to it,” Radi added without giving details.
His trip to Cairo was the second this year. Egyptian media showed footage of people waving the Egyptian and Saudi flags as he his motorcade drove through central Cairo to the presidential palace. Some of them shouted “Egypt and Saudi Arabia are one hand.”
State and private TV stations highlighted the visit and praised “deep and historical” ties between Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
“The Egyptian leadership’s welcome of the crown prince reflects backing for the kingdom against the media war that has targeted it over the past few weeks,” Saliman Wahdan, the deputy head of the Egyptian parliament, said.
“Egypt cannot forget the Saudi leadership’s support on many occasions,” he added.
Saudi Arabia is a major diplomatic and financial backer of Egypt.
Relations between the two Arab countries have grown since 2013 when Al Sissi led the army’s toppling of Islamist president Mohammad Mursi following enormous street protests against his one-year rule.