UAE backs counter-revolutions: Qatar's envoy to Turkey

 20 Aug 2017 - 18:49

UAE backs counter-revolutions: Qatar's envoy to Turkey
Qatar’s Ambassador to Turkey Salem bin Mubarak Al Shafi is pictured in his office.

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ISTANBUL: Qatar's ambassador to Turkey has accused the United Arab Emirates (UAE) of supporting "counter-revolutions in the Arab world for restoring dictatorships". 

In a statement issued on Saturday evening, Ambassador Salem Al-Shafi said: "The UAE and a number of allies have paid around $40 billion to consolidate the military coup in Egypt alone," in reference to the ouster of Mohamed Morsi, the country's first freely elected president, in 2013. 

"We say that these countries have not learnt the lesson well," he added. "Blaming Qatar, using bright terms such as counterterrorism and attacking the moderates with a view to winning the West will not help protect them from the people."

Al-Shafi denied accusations against Qatar of backing Islamists and extremists in the Middle East.

"There are some Arab countries which are afraid of revolutions," he said. "Instead of reforming their regimes and fulfilling the people's aspirations, they heap the blame on Qatar and the so-called political Islam." 
The ambassador stressed that Qatar was "doing all it can to serve security and stability in the region in a way that does not clash with aspirations of the people". 

UAE's role in Qatar crisis 'visible for all'
In June, the UAE, along with Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain, cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism. 

The four states imposed a sea, land and air blockade on Qatar and presented a list of demands for Doha to end the boycott or face further sanctions.

Qatar, for its part, denies the accusations and contends that the blockade is in violation of international law.

Al-Shafi said the UAE's role "in triggering the crisis with Qatar has become visible for all".

"Our technical and legal investigations, in cooperation with the FBI and NCA [Britain's National Crime Agency] have categorically proved this," he said, in an implicit reference to the hacking of Qatar's official news agency.

Last month, the Washington Post said the UAE had orchestrated the hacking of Qatar's state-run news and social media sites "to post incendiary false quotes attributed to Qatar’s emir, H H Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani".

The hacked reports said Qatar's emir called Iran an "Islamic power", and heaped praise on Palestinian resistance group Hamas, among other controversial claims.

Blockade states dismiss mediation 
The Qatari envoy said the UAE and other blockade states "have rejected any foreign mediation to solve the crisis".
UAE State Minister for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash had earlier in August called on Turkey to "remain neutral" in the crisis with Qatar.

Since the Gulf crisis began, Turkey, a longtime ally of Qatar, has rushed to Doha’s aid, dispatching vast amounts of humanitarian assistance -- in addition to troops -- to the beleaguered Gulf state.

"The international community and most world countries have rejected UAE allegations and illegal measures against Qatar," Al-Shafi said.

He said Doha had restrained from taking "vengeful" measures in response to the blockade.

"We hope that they [the blockade states] will return to reason," he said. "We believe that they will ultimately return to dialogue."

Turkish base

The Qatari ambassador reiterated his country's commitment to fighting terrorism.

"Qatar is an active member in all counterterrorism forums and in the international anti-Daesh coalition," he said. "Qatar also hosts the largest U.S. military base in the Middle East for fighting terrorism," he said, in reference to al-Udeid base.

The diplomat went on to ridicule calls for closing the Turkish base in Qatar.

"It is strange to see the UAE, which hosts several foreign bases, to call for closing the Turkish base in Doha and for cutting defense ties between Qatar and Turkey, unless the UAE and allied states have hostile intentions or plans for a military intervention," he said.

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