Egyptian Parliament - File Photo
CAIRO – 5 September 2017: A number of Egyptian parliament members called on the Egyptian Publishers Association (EPA) and Arab Publishers Association to boycott the 28th Doha International Book Fair scheduled to be held on November 29.
Qatar has offered many temptations to the book publishers of Egypt to participate in the 28th Doha International Book Fair. The event organizers addressed all Egyptian publishing houses to participate in the next session.
Qatar’s attempt to attract Egyptian publishers aimed to send a message to the West that Egyptian intellectuals are in touch with Qatar’s ruling regime despite the boycott imposed by the Anti-Terrorism Quartet (ATQ) of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain, said Osama Heikal, the head of the Egyptian parliament's culture, media and antiquities committee.
The organizers have provided many enticements to the Egyptian publishing houses, including a decrease in the rent of pavilions by up to 50%, in an attempt to induce Egyptian publishers to participate in the Doha Book Fair.
A number of Egyptian publishing houses revealed that the deputy director of the Qatar Book Fair has arrived to Cairo, Egypt to convince and negotiate with Egyptian publishers to participate in the event.
MP Lamis Gaber denounced the Qatari official’s visit to Cairo, saying, "They try to buy us, but Egyptians would not be fooled with that move.”
"How can I give them a culture and books, which is the most valuable thing in the world, while they export terrorism that kills our children?" Gaber wondered.
Head of the Egyptian Publishers Association (EPA) and Assistant Secretary General of the Arab Publishers Association Adel Al-Masry expressed his rejection of Qatar’s invitation to participate in the Doha Book Fair.
“We reject the invitation. We are now in a boycott with Qatar, and we will not participate in their book fair, because the EPA is an integral part of the state,” Al-Masry said.
He pointed out that the EPA will not be responsible for any consequences caused resulting from the participation of any Egyptian publishing house in the Doha Book Fair.
Al-Masry stressed that the EPA is following the same approach as the Egyptian government in terms of the political situation.
Qatar’s relations with several Arab states have been strained since May 24 over a leaked statement attributed to Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad, in which he criticized Gulf foreign policy with Iran, describing it as “unwise”.
The Qatari Emir’s remarks against Egypt, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) prompted the major Arab powers to adopt urgent and strict measures towards Doha.
The Qatari crisis was escalated when the Arab quartet, along with Yemen and Libya, announced a coordinated diplomatic break with Qatar. They also closed their airspace and seaports to Qatari transportation.