Qatar and Egypt took another major step toward rapprochement last week, as Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi made a two-day visit to Doha. The trip marked Sisi’s first to Qatar since Cairo suspended diplomatic ties with Doha and joined a Saudi-led embargo in June 2017. More than three years of crisis later, Saudi Arabia announced the end of its blockade of Qatar in January 2021, after which diplomatic relations between Egypt and Qatar were officially restored.
But despite several steps taken since then to normalize the relationship—including the reinstatement of direct flights between Cairo and Doha, the signing of bilateral investment agreements and the visit of Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to Cairo in June—ties between the two countries have remained lukewarm.
If Qatar’s motivation behind the gathering rapprochement is political, economic recovery is the main driver for Egypt, with the Egyptian economy continuing to stagnate due to a combination of domestic challenges and international factors.