Qatar recalls envoy to Egypt over Libya air strikes

Qatar recalls envoy to Egypt over Libya air strikes

Thursday, February 19, 2015 8:43 am

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi

Qatar recalled its ambassador to Egypt on Thursday “for consultation” following a row over Cairo’s air strikes on jihadist targets in Libya, Qatari state media said.

A foreign ministry official said Doha was recalling its envoy over a statement made by Egypt’s delegate to the Arab League, Tariq Adel, according to the QNA state news agency.

Adel accused Qatar of supporting “terrorism”, according to Egyptian media and the Al-Jazeera news channel, after Doha’s representative expressed reservations over a clause in a communique welcoming Cairo’s air strikes on Islamic State targets.

The communique was released at the end of an ambassador-level Arab League meeting in the Egyptian capital.

Ties between Doha and Cairo have been strained in recent years amid a spat over Qatar’s support for ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi.

Egyptian F-16s bombed militant bases in the eastern Libyan city of Derna on Tuesday, after the Islamic State group in Libya released a gruesome video showing the beheadings of a group of Egyptian Coptic Christians who had gone to the North African country seeking work.

Qatar’s director of Arab affairs in the foreign ministry, Saad bin Ali al-Mohannadi, said Doha had expressed reservations over welcoming the raids, stressing the need for “consultations before any unilateral military action against another member state”.

Mohannadi added unilateral action “may harm unarmed civilians”.

The ministry denounced the “tense” statement by Egypt’s representative to the Arab League, saying it “confuses the need to combat terrorism (with)… the brutal killing and burning of civilians.”

Mohannadi added though that Qatar “is supportive and will always remain supportive of the will and stability of the Egyptian people”.

There was no immediate response from Egypt.

The row comes against a backdrop of difficult relations between the two countries. Ties reached a low point when Morsi was toppled by the army in July 2013.

Qatar has repeatedly denounced Morsi’s removal and still provides shelter for many leaders of his Muslim Brotherhood.

However in December there was an apparent thaw in relations after Qatar gave its full support to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the army chief who overthrew Morsi and was then elected to office.

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