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Egyptian Foreign Ministry Denounces Recent GCC Statements on Coptic Cathedral Bombing

The current diplomatic conflict between Egypt and some Gulf states is seeing new tensions as a result of Egypt's cathedral bombing investigations.

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry denounced statements made by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states on Friday in which the GCC nations condemned what they viewed as Egypt accusing Qatar for its involvement in the Cairo Cathedral bombing on the 11th of December, according to Daily News Egypt. In one of the statements, Secretary-General of the GCC Abdul Latif Bin Rashid Al Zayani warned against "haste in releasing accusatory statements, which could negatively affect the close ties between the GCC and Egypt."

In its response, the Foreign Ministry affirmed that the statements issued by the Ministry of Interior only included verified information on the attacker's identity and his latest movements. The statement in question said that one of the defendants in the church bombing had travelled to Qatar in 2015 where he met with leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, and was allegedly provided with financial support to return to Egypt and carry out the attacks. The Ministry of Interior also pointed out Qatar's hosting of the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters.

Qatar had also issued a separate statement through its Foreign Ministry in response to the Egyptian claims, according to Daily News Egypt. In the statement, Qatar condemned the bombing and offered condolences to the families of the victims. It also denounced Egypt’s said accusations, adding that the suspect did travel to Qatar in 2015 but that the government had not received any request from Egypt to impede his entry.

Despite the tensions caused by the aforementioned statements, Egypt's Foreign Ministry expressed appreciation to the Secretary General of the GCC for their solidarity following the attack on the church. The ministry also emphasised the strong relationship Egypt has with the GCC, adding that it hopes the GCC will more closely examine Egypt’s position on the matter.