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Monday, January 24, 2022

Egypt, Qatar could soon team up to ramp up sports cooperation


Qatar and Egypt’s ministers of youth and sports met on Tuesday to discuss means of cooperation and investment between the two nations. 

Qatar’s Minister of Youth and Sports Salah bin Ghanem Al-Ali met in Doha on Tuesday with his Egyptian counterpart Ashraf Sobhy to discuss ways to strengthen bilateral cooperation in sports infrastructure.

Sobhy attended the opening ceremony of the FIFA Arab Cup 2021 in Qatar, which kicked off on Tuesday and will run until December 18.

The minsters discussed visions of activating cooperation between the two nations to launch youth programmes which include increasing sports investment, and benefiting from both nations’ expertise in hosting major international sports events.

The Egyptian sports minister stressed the North African nation’s enthusiasm to strengthen relations and deepen cooperation with Qatar through joint programmes and projects that will be launched soon.

The meeting also tackled Qatar’s hosting of the FIFA Arab Cup, and the participation of the Egyptian national team in the tournament. Egypt is Group D along Algeria, Lebanon and Sudan.

The Pharoahs played against Lebanon on Wednesday, emerging victorious with a 1-0 game against the Lebanese team. A penalty goal gave the national team three points to bring them level with Algeria in their group.

Read also: Qatar-Egypt engaging in major moves to strengthen relations: envoy

This year’s Arab Cup was the 10th edition but was organised by FIFA for the first time. It comes as a rehearsal ahead of the 2022 World Cup which will be hosted by Qatar next year.

Qatar-Egypt ties

In September, Qatar’s newly-appointed ambassador to Egypt Salem Al Shafi commented on the two countries’ mutual desire to move forward and overcome past differences.

Al Shafi became Qatar’s first ambassador to Egypt since the 2017 GCC crisis, which came to an end on 5 January following the signing of the Al-Ula Declaration.

In 2017, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt imposed an illegal air, land and sea blockade on Qatar and severed all ties with Doha over charges it supports terrorism. Qatar has constantly denied those allegations.

Cairo withdrew its ambassador from Doha in 2017 immediately after the blockading quartet severed all ties with Qatar.

However, there have been positive statements from officials from Cairo and Doha following the signing of the accord, indicating the resumption of diplomatic ties between the two states.

In June, Egypt appointed its newest ambassador to Qatar, following a similar move by Saudi Arabia.

In August, Al Jazeera also aired live from Cairo for the first time in eight years after it was shut down in 2013 per an Egyptian judicial decision made following a raid that saw the arrest of several journalists.

Egypt’s national airline also opened an office in Qatar as relations between the two countries get back on track after the years-long dispute.

Despite efforts towards strengthening relations between the two countries, there remains key differences between Doha and Cairo, including media freedom and foreign policy.

However, the latest agreements is seen as a significant indicator of the restoration of ties between Qatar and Egypt.

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