Siege nations put the GCC at risk: FM
01 Sep 2017 - 2:22
QNA & The Peninsula
The Foreign Minister H E Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani affirmed that Qatar does not believe in internationalising the Gulf crisis, but rather believes in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and resolving the crisis through dialogue. He stressed that Doha is the party that initiated the call to respect the Kuwaiti mediation.
At a press conference in European Parliament in Brussels yesterday, the Foreign Minister said that the countries of the West did not respond to the accusations against the State of Qatar regarding the support of terrorism, noting that the siege countries did not provide any evidence to support their accusations about Qatar’s interference in their internal affairs.
Sheikh Mohammed stressed that the siege countries are the party that violated the Riyadh Agreement, stressing that these countries have put the GCC at risk by attacking a member state, pointing out at the same time that there is consensus within the GCC on a general policy and on that each member state is sovereign.
The Foreign Minister called on the siege countries to prioritise resolving other crises, instead of creating a new crisis with Qatar.
With regard to Haj, the Foreign Minister said that Saudi Arabia has not facilitated the pilgrimage process for Qatari citizens, and that Doha considers the Saudi authorities responsible for their safety during the pilgrimage season.
The Foreign Minister said that the State of Qatar withdrew its ambassador from Iran in solidarity with Saudi Arabia and returned him to Tehran after the causes have ceased to exist.
He pointed out that the siege countries do not accept the other opinion, and accuse all those, who disagree with them, for the support of terrorism.
He added that their list of “terrorist” individuals and institution was based on their own assessments.
The Foreign Minister stressed that the State of Qatar is committed to all its contracts even in the midst of the crisis, and that Qatar is working with international organisations to manage the aviation affairs.
“Qatar never interferes in the politics of another country and doesn’t accept that others interfere in our politics,” said Sheikh Mohamed, calling on Gulf countries that have cut ties with his country to stop attempting to influence its foreign policy.
These countries are “claiming that Qatar is interfering in their internal politics, but there is no evidence”, he said after a meeting with members of the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium.
“The blockading countries which are accusing Qatar of this are interfering in our internal affairs by the incitement they are carrying out to our people.”
The Foreign Minister met in Brussels yesterday with European Union’s Commissioner for Security Julian King, whom he briefed on the latest developments in the Gulf crisis and all the illegal measures taken against Qatar by the siege countries.
The minister stressed Qatar’s firm stance on combating terrorism in all its forms and Qatar’s support of all international efforts to combat terrorism, stressing the continuity of cooperation between Qatar and the European Union. The meeting also addressed the relations between Qatar and the European Union and means of supporting and developing them.
On the other hand, in an interview with India’s CNN-News18, the Foreign Minister said that Qatar shows zero tolerance towards terrorism, its sympathisers, financiers and supporters, stressing that the siege countries failed to provide evidence to prove the validity of their accusations against Qatar.
The Minister expressed Qatar’s appreciation for the position of the Indian government “which has been neutral and called for dialogue to solve the Gulf crisis”.
“Some 700,000 Indian people live in Qatar and are contributing along with the Qatari society for the development of the country, a matter which is appreciated by the Qatari government and people,” he said.
He added that “the Qatari government has pledged from the outset that the Indian community, like other communities, will not be affected by the blockade imposed on Qatar, and that is why we have taken immediate measures to ensure the continued flow of basic necessities while ensuring that prices do not exceed their purchasing power.”
Regarding the Qatari nationals who were forced to leave the besieging countries, the Minister said Qatari residents in these countries were not there for work but for education purposes or staying due to family reasons. The siege affected mixed families and Qatari students completing their education in those countries, he added.
In another interview with Indian Republic TV, Sheikh Mohammed said he discussed during his meeting with Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj on Saturday bilateral strategic relations between Qatar and India.
He stressed that the siege imposed on Qatar will have no impact on the diplomatic relations between Doha and New Delhi, stressing that India plays a very important role in the process of economic development of Qatar.
On the rapprochement between Qatar and Iran, which the four countries described as one of the main reasons for the siege on Doha, he said “When the Saudi embassy in Tehran was targeted, we showed all forms of support for Saudi Arabia and we withdrew our ambassador from Tehran, but Iran is the only country that has opened its borders to us. And if it did not take such action, it would be an isolation for Qatar.”
Regarding the West’s view of Qatar as a modern state rather than conservative, he said Qatar has been the most developed country in the Gulf region for 20 years. It is home to many foreign universities, the religious landscape is varied and everyone practices his religion freely.
“Qatar has evolved in its own way and the siege we have been facing is an incentive for us to move forward towards development policy,” he said.