Qatar has asked seven senior figures from Egypt's outlawed Muslim Brotherhood to leave the country, the movement said on Saturday, following months of pressure on the Gulf Arab state from its neighbors to stop backing the Islamists.
Ibrahim Munir, a senior Brotherhood official based in London, told Reuters the departures did not mean a rupture in ties between Qatar and the Brotherhood."The Qatari authorities told the Brotherhood they are facing pressure and circumstances would not allow the presence of all these Brotherhood figures in Doha," he said by telephone, without elaborating.
Qatari officials were not immediately available for comment.
Qatar and Turkey were the only regional countries to back the Brotherhood after Egypt's army toppled Islamist President Mohamed Morsi last year following mass protests against his rule.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and other Gulf Arab states, in contrast, have showered Egypt's new rulers with billions of dollars. They see the Muslim Brotherhood as an existential threat to the monarchies.
Tensions over Qatar's support for the Brotherhood led Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE to withdraw their ambassadors from Doha in March.