Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani will visit Ethiopia on Monday in an two-day official visit, as his first visit to the African country since he took power in 2013.
Ethiopian news agency said Tamim is scheduled to meet with President Mulatu Teshome and Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn to tackle bilateral issues of joint interest and hold bilateral talks to boost cooperation. The two sides are expected to sign agreements and memorandums of understanding. They will also agree on exempting holders of diplomatic passports from getting mutual visas.
The visit comes after Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir concluded his three-day visit to Ethiopia last week,during which he met with the Ethiopian prime minister and inspected the progress of several projects.
In another diplomatic visit to the continent, Sheikha Mozah al-Missned, mother of the Qatari Emir, paid a visit to Sudan at the end of March.
Ahmed Haggag, former secretary general of the African committee, described Qatar's recent moves, especially in Africa and Ethiopia, as "dubious" with the aim of urging Ethiopia take hostile stance against Egypt.
Speaking to Al-Masry Al-Youm, Haggag said Qatar is attempting to offer military and financial aid to Ethiopia to create tension between Ethiopia and Egypt. He added that Egypt should not pay attention to Qatar's steps in this regard.
Hani Raslan, researcher with Al-Ahram Center for Strategic Studies, said Qatar's movements are not without reason. Tamim’s visit should not be annoying to anyone, he said, expressing astonishment about the exaggerated attention paid to Qatar — a small country that is simply looking for a bigger role to play.
What is important for Egypt is the Renaissance Dam case, Raslan said, adding that Egypt will react if the issue affects its future regarding the Nile watershare. "The Ethiopian stance is negative and does not pour into Egypt’s favor.”
Raslan denied the presence of Sudanese-Qatari-Ethiopian alliance. “Any talks about alliances are not true.”
Mona Omar, foreign deputy foreign minister for African affairs, said Qatar is trying to play against Egypt for well-known reasons. She added that remarks by Bashir after Sheikha Mozah’s visit that the visit was "not positive" indicate the strong ties between Egypt and Sudan.
She stressed that ties between Egypt and Ethiopia should be able to confront whoever tries to destabilize their confidence in one another.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm