Qatar has recalled its ambassador to Cairo to protest comments made by an Egyptian official over his country’s decision to carry out air strikes in neighbouring Libya.
In a brief statement, Qatar said it was withdrawing the envoy “for consultations” in response to comments made by the Egyptian delegate to the Arab League, Tarek Adel.
Egyptian media quoted Mr Adel as saying Arab League representatives expressed support for Egypt’s air strikes this week against Isis militants in Libya as part of its right to self-defence. It added that only Qatar “deviated” from the consensus, accusing it of continuously taking positions against Egypt. “It is evident that Qatar is revealing its position that it is supportive of terrorism,” Mr Adel said.
Egypt’s air strikes followed the posting of an online video showing the beheadings of 21 Coptic Christians, most Egyptians, by militants loyal to Isis in Libya. Qatar is a member of the US-led coalition against Isis in Iraq and Syria.
The Qatari Foreign Ministry’s director of Arab affairs, Saad bin Ali al-Mohannadi, said Qatar strongly condemns the killing of the 21 Coptic Christians but denounces what he called Mr Adel’s “tense statement”.
The head of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, which includes Qatar, said it was false to suggest that Qatar supports terrorism. Secretary-General Abdullatif al-Zayani said the allegations “ignore the truth”.