The move to call in the Qatari ambassador was prompted by Doha’s criticism of Cairo’s crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood of deposed Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, which Qatar has backed.
Egypt has launched a sustained crackdown against the Islamist movement, declaring it a terrorist group late in December, a move Qatar has condemned as “a prelude to a shoot-to-kill policy” against pro-Brotherhood demonstrators.
Ambassador Saif Moqadam Al-Boenain has affirmed Doha’s support to Egypt’s 2011 revolution – which unseated long-time ruler Hosni Mubarak – and the 30 June revolution, when millions protested against Morsi last year, Egypt’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty said in a statement about the summoning.
The ambassador cited cables of congratulations sent by Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani to Egypt’s interim President Adli Mansour upon taking office and Doha’s expressed support to the country’s military leaders on the heels of Morsi’s removal, said the Foreign Ministry spokesperson.
Qatar’s foreign ministry said a day after Morsi’s overthrow on 3 July of last year that it would “continue its backing to the sisterly Arab nation” and asserted it “has always supported Egyptians’ will and choices” toward democracy and social justice. It also hailed at the time the role played by Egypt’s army in “defending Egypt and its national security.”
But if Qatar was sincere in its backing, the Egyptian spokesman said, “It should have taken tangible, constructive steps towards bringing ties between both countries back to its natural context instead of [its] unacceptable interference.”
Qatar has repeatedly expressed concern over a crackdown against the Brotherhood movement, straining diplomatic ties with Cairo.
The oil-rich country was a main backer of Morsi’s reign, providing Egypt with $7 billion to Egypt during that time.
Most Gulf Arab states, unsettled by the Brotherhood’s influence in their own monarchies, have backed the army’s ouster of Morsi, with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait offering Egypt $12 billion in aid shortly after.