Al Jazeera closes Egypt channel

Published December 22nd, 2014 - 05:48 GMT

Qatar's controversial Al-Jazeera Mubasher Misr (Al-Jazeera Egypt) announced on Monday that it is broadcasting its last news items before closure, as reconciliation efforts to mend tensions between Egypt and Qatar continue.

A statement published by the Al-Jazeera said Al-Jazeera Mubasher Misr "temporarily ceased broadcasting until such time as necessary permits are issued for its return to Cairo in coordination with the Egyptian authorities."

Meanwhile, according to the statement, a new channel named Al Jazeera Mubasher Al-‘Amma (Al-Jazeera General Live) would temporarily report on global events on the same frequency as Mubasher Misr.

The Qatari channel, which maintained that the ouster of Morsi in July 2013 was a military coup and regularly denounced Egypt's current government, was banned from broadcasting out of Cairo in August 2013.

Al-Jazeera's move to take its Egypt channel off the air comes amid attempts by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries to to mend the relationship between the two countries after months of tensions over Doha's support to the banned Muslim Brotherhood.

Qatar released a statement on Sunday announcing its "full support" to Egypt following a meeting between Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and a Qatari envoy in Cairo.

"Qatar, which cares about Egypt’s leading role in the Arab and Islamic world, seeks strong bilateral relations and mutual efforts to develop Egypt which will be in the interest of the peoples of both countries," the statement of the Qatari royal court read.

“Saudi Arabia values the steps taken by the two countries which will strengthen the relationships between Egypt and Qatar, one of which is today’s visit of the special envoy of the emir of Qatar," a statement by Saudi Arabia, ahead of Qatari envoy visit to Egypt had read.

According to the pan-Arab daily Asharq Al-Awsat, Sisi and Thani are expected to hold a summity in Riyadh soon for a summit hosted by Saudi King Abdullah.

In the aftermath of Morsi's ouster, tensions grew between Qatar and Egypt as Doha hosted outspoken members of the Brotherhood who are wanted on criminal charges in Egypt.

Qatar also failed to hand over to the Interpol Brotherhood members wanted by Cairo.

In November, the post-Morsi government returned all $6 billion borrowed from the gas-rich state during Brotherhood rule.

However, in September, Qatar, in an apparent good faith move to end tension with Egypt, asked at least seven Egyptian Islamist figures, mostly members and allies of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, to leave the country. Moreover, in recent weeks, the channel started occasionally referring to Egyptian president El-Sisi as "the first elected president after the coup." in palce of its longstanding insistence he was the "leader of the coup."

© Copyright Al-Ahram Publishing House

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