CAIRO (AP) — A well-known Egyptian politician living in the United Arab Emirates who has declared himself a candidate in the 2018 presidential elections says his host country is blocking his departure.

The UAE is denying the allegation and says Ahmed Shafiq is free to travel. The Qatar-based satellite network Al-Jazeera broadcast a video with Shafiq saying that Emirati officials prevented him from leaving to return to Egypt in the coming days, just hours after he announced his candidacy on Wednesday night.

Shafiq says: "I was surprised to be prevented from leaving the United Arab Emirates for reasons I do not understand."

However, UAE Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash tweeted in response that the "United Arab Emirates confirms there is no obstacle," to Shafiq's leaving.