Qatari-owned Al Jazeera suspends Egypt channel

December 22, 2014 19:36
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CAIRO – Qatari-owned Al Jazeera suspended broadcast of its Egypt-focused channel on Monday, citing a product restructuring, as Doha and Cairo seek to mend ties that deteriorated last year after the army toppled elected Islamist President Mohamed Mursi.

Qatar was one of the main supporters of Mursi and his Muslim Brotherhood during their year in power. Ties between Egypt and Qatar have been strained since then-army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ousted Mursi in July 2013 after protests against his rule.

Cairo has accused Al Jazeera of being a mouthpiece for the now-banned Brotherhood – which it denies – and security forces closed its offices in the Egyptian capital hours after Mursi's ouster. But the network continued to broadcast its Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr (AJMM), which covered daily protests by supporters of the Brotherhood, from Doha, irritating Egypt's leaders.

The decision to end those broadcasts follows a meeting on Saturday between Sisi, who has since won a presidential election, and a special envoy of the emir of Qatar. The meeting was the latest step in a Saudi-brokered effort to repair relations.

"AJMM has meanwhile temporarily ceased broadcasting until such time as necessary permits are issued for its return to Cairo in coordination with the Egyptian authorities," it said in a statement.

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