Egypt summons Qatari envoy after criticisms of crackdown

CAIRO Sat Jan 4, 2014 12:40pm EST

Supporters of Muslim Brotherhood and ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi clash with riot police during clashes at Nasr City district in Cairo, January 3, 2014. REUTERS/ Mohamed Abd El Ghany

Supporters of Muslim Brotherhood and ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi clash with riot police during clashes at Nasr City district in Cairo, January 3, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/ Mohamed Abd El Ghany

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CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt's foreign ministry summoned Qatar's ambassador on Saturday to complain about interference in its internal affairs after Doha criticized Cairo's crackdown on the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood.

The formerly close Qatari-Egyptian relationship has soured since the Egyptian army ousted Islamist President Mohamed Mursi, who had been firmly supported by Doha, last July following mass protests against his one-year rule.

Cairo then launched a wide crackdown against Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood group and labeled it a terrorist group last week.

Qatar said on Saturday that the decision to name the Brotherhood a terrorist organization was "a prelude to a shoot-to-kill policy" against demonstrators who have been staging frequent protests to call for Mursi's reinstatement.

"Egypt reiterates that it will not allow any external party to interfere in its internal affairs under any name or justification," Egypt's Foreign Ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty said in a statement.

Any country that tried to interfere would have "the responsibility for the consequences," he added of the message given to Qatar's ambassador to Cairo, Saif Moqadam Al-Boenain after the envoy was called in on Saturday.

Egypt accuses Qatar and its Doha-based Al Jazeera television channel of backing the Muslim Brotherhood. Thousands of the Brotherhood's members have been arrested.

Earlier, a Qatari foreign ministry statement said: "The decision to designate popular political movements as terrorist organizations, and labeling peaceful demonstrations as terrorism, did not succeed in stopping the peaceful protests.

"It was only a prelude to a shoot-to-kill policy on demonstrators," the statement published by state news agency QNA said. It said that "inclusive dialogue" between all sides was the only solution to Egypt's crisis.

On Friday, 17 people were shot dead as supporters of the Brotherhood clashed with police across Egypt, defying a widening state crackdown on the movement that ruled the country until six months ago.

Islamists opposed to the army's overthrow of Mursi have been holding daily demonstrations for months.

Last week, Egypt's general prosecutor detained several journalists for 15 days for broadcasting graphics on Al Jazeera, alleging that they damaged Egypt's reputation.

In an interview with Egypt's newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm in November, Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmi said Al Jazeera was one of the reasons for worsening ties between the two states.

Egypt expelled the Turkish ambassador in November after it accused Ankara of backing organizations bent on undermining the country - an apparent reference to the Brotherhood.

A conservative estimate puts the death toll since Mursi's fall at well over 1,500 people, mainly Brotherhood supporters. About 400 police and soldiers have been killed in bombings and shootings.

(Writing by Rania El Gamal in Dubai and Asma Alsharif in Cairo; editing by Ralph Boulton and Alister Doyle)

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Comments (4)
xmido wrote:
Qatar has been pro-islamist from the start, that is why Aljazeera has not been a trustworthy news source for what is going on in Egypt. Even though to be honest, the other news is biased as well to the military, its is kinda like you are either with us or against us. Both sides are kinda wrong.

Jan 04, 2014 6:52am EST  --  Report as abuse
nose2066 wrote:
Qatar is home to a large American military base which is central to America’s undeclared wars in the Middle East.

Qatar reportedly armed Libyan opposition groups during the undeclared war against the former government of Muammar Gaddafi. And in fact, Qatar admitted to having soldiers on the ground in Libya (They didn’t say what nation those soldiers actually came from).

Qatar provides money for weapons for rebel groups in the Syrian civil war.

They also have ties to the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Qatar is a quite a “hot bed”.

Jan 04, 2014 8:28am EST  --  Report as abuse
Sohail33 wrote:
Egypt Army is the worst army in the world, more worse than Israel’s army.

Jan 04, 2014 12:13pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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