FM: Siege on Qatar an act of aggression

 07 Jul 2017 - 10:55

FM: Siege on Qatar an act of aggression
Foreign Minister H E Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, during an interview with CNN.


London: Foreign Minister H E Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani affirmed that the siege imposed on Qatar is an act of aggression and an insult to any independent and sovereign country. 

In an interview with CNN network, the Minister of Foreign Affairs said that if we are looking at the demands presented to the State of Qatar, there are accusations that Qatar is supporting terrorism and demands related to shutting free speech, shutting media outlets and expelling opponents as well as other demands which are against the international law, such as withdrawing the Qatari nationality from certain individuals and return them to their countries of origin.

The Foreign MInister stressed that Qatar wouldn't comply with any demands that it considers a violation of international law and would not comply with any action limited to Qatar alone. Any solution must include everyone, not Qatar alone.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said that they are accusing Qatar of having special relations with Iran, while they did not take any action against Iran itself. Therefore, the measures that were taken against Qatar is an act of aggression and is relating to other reasons, not Iran.

"Shutting down Al Jazeera is out of the question. Any demand that affect the sovereignty of the State of Qatar will not be discussed," the Foreign Minister said.

He affirmed that no money from Qatar is going out of the country to finance terrorism, stressing that "if there is any Qatari who are involved in financing any terrorist organisation, he will be held accountable." 

On a previous statement by the Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani that the concept of terrorism may differ in the State of Qatar from some other countries, the Minister stressed that Qatar remains committed to this position saying that the government recognises a group as terrorist if it is designated by the UN Security Council or if there is proof it has committed violence.

Regarding the presence of Hamas movement's leaders in Qatar and in light of classifying the movement by some countries such as Israel and the United States on the list of terrorism, the Foreign Minister said that "Hamas representation in Qatar is a political office. It is not a military presentation."

The Foreign Minister explained that the current political leadership of the movement is in Gaza and some of its leaders in the State of Qatar who came to participate in negotiations of the national reconciliation in which Qatar plays the role of mediator. These negotiations are supported by the international community and in coordination with the US, he said stressing that that State of Qatar does not support Hamas, but it supports the people of Gaza.

US-Qatari relations very strong: FM

On Qatar's supporting of the Muslim Brotherhood group, which is classified by Egypt as a terrorist group, the Minister of Foreign Affairs said that Egypt classifies them as a terrorist group, but for us in Qatar we do not, adding that Qatar does not support the Muslim Brotherhood group and they do not exist in the country.

The Muslim Brotherhood is a political group that are working in countries such as Bahrain which is one of the siege countries, he , adding that this is a double standard that one of the demands is to classify the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group at a time when the Bahraini parliament includes members of this group. 

Regarding Al Nusra Front in which Qatar helped to release a US journalist held in custody, he said dealing with Al Nusra Front or other does not mean our support for its ideas and regarding this issue, we only played a mediator role in facilitating dialogue with them and we have no direct communication with them.

On the role of US President Donald Trump and his administration in this crisis, the Minister said that the US-Qatari relations are very strong and the American administration plays a major role in solving the crisis as it tries to resolve this conflict and there are many steps taken by the American side to urge the siege countries to present their demands so that there is a role for the United States in mediation to resolve the crisis. 

US President Trump held via telephone a conversation with the Emir during which he stressed the need to resolve the crisis and called for non-escalation, the Minister  said, adding that this is the US position for us.
On the real reasons behind this crisis, the Minister said that we believe that the independence and policy of Qatar may be behind this crisis.

Qatar's policy has always been independent and despite our visions' differences with the other parties, this has never affected the collective security of the Gulf states, he said. "We have never sought to target the security of any Gulf country because such a matter would have its consequences on Qatar," he added.

The progress achieved by Qatar might have been one of the motives of the crisis because the big countries may be bothered that a small country will influence its role, the Minister said, however, Qatar did not do so, but was only an active player at the international level through the use of international mechanisms in a clear, public and transparent manner as an attempt to unite peoples in order to achieve peace in the world and our pursuit is to solve problems through diplomacy means.

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