Sisi visits Qatar as Egypt seeks to bolster financial ties post-boycott

President of Egypt Abdel Fattah al-Sisi speaks at the Petersberg Climate Dialogue in Berlin, Germany July 18, 2022. REUTERS/Christian Mang

CAIRO, Sept 13 (Reuters) - Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi began a two-day visit to Qatar on Tuesday, his first since Cairo and Doha restored relations last year following a regional diplomatic rift.

The visit comes as Egypt seeks further financial support and investment to cushion an economic shock caused by the war in Ukraine.

The Egyptian presidency said Sisi would discuss bilateral and regional issues with Qatar's ruler, Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, who visited Egypt in June.

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Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain had boycotted Qatar since 2017 over charges it supported terrorism, an accusation that referred to Islamist groups and that Qatar denied.

An agreement to end the row was struck early last year, and Qatar and Egypt have moved quickly to rebuild relations.

During his visit Sisi will meet Qatari companies and the Egyptian-Qatari business council, two Egyptian diplomatic sources said.

Financial pressure on Egypt sharpened after Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February due to flight of portfolio investment, a loss in tourism revenue, and rising global commodity prices.

Cairo has been negotiating for a new loan with the International Monetary Fund for several months.

In June, the Egyptian finance ministry said Qatar had made $3 billion of deposits in Egypt's central bank three months earlier, and that an additional $2-3 billion of investments were under discussion.

That was on top of deposits of $5 billion from Saudi Arabia and $3 billion from the UAE to Egypt's central bank in February-March, the ministry said.

Both the UAE and Saudi Arabia have also made recent investments in Egypt through their sovereign wealth funds.

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Reporting by Aidan Lewis, Mohamed Waly and Patrick Werr, Editing by Alexandra Hudson

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