Won’t “surrender” and decline any involvement foreign policy: Qatar
Qatar said that it will not “surrender” and decline any involvement in its foreign policy, disobeying its Gulf neighbors in a developing dispute over its declared support for activist on Thursday.
In an interview with AFP, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said calls for improvement in Qatari policy from Saudi Arabia and its associate, which trim diplomatic ties with Doha this week, were intolerable.
Sheikh Mohammed said, “No one has the right to intervene in our foreign policy.”
He also rejected “a military solution as an option” to resolving the crisis, and said Qatar could survive “forever” despite the measures taken against it.
He told reporters later, “We are not ready to surrender, and will never be ready to surrender the independence of our foreign policy.”
He further added, “No one will break us.”
Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and Bahrain showed a cord of countries that this week cut ties with Qatar over what they say is the emirate’s financing of extremist groups and its ties to Iran, Saudi Arabia’s regional arch-rival.
On Thursday, the four countries supplied a list of individuals and organization they said had “terrorist” links to Qatar, in their first joint statement since helping ties with Doha.
The group said the list shows Qatar “announces fighting terrorism on one hand and finances and supports and hosts different terrorist organisations on the other hand.”
According to a previous US Department of State report, the document holds at least two names already appointed internationally as terrorist financiers, and against whom Qatar took action.
Qatar strongly denied the earlier allegations and expressed a inclination to occupy in talks to decide the crisis.
– Al-Jazeera in the crosshairs –
The gas-rich emirate’s satellite news giant Al-Jazeera has also appear as a point of claim, and on Thursday, the broadcaster said it was struggling a major cyber attack.
A source said it was trying to repel the hack Al-Jazeera tweeted that it was “under cyber attack on all systems, websites & social media platforms”,
The UAE and Saudi Arabia have blocked Al-Jazeera from the airwaves and closed the channel’s offices.
The Arab countries closed air, sea and land links with Qatar, secured the emirate’s planes from their airspace and ordered Qatari citizens out within 14 days.
This argument has raised fears of wider insecurity in an already volatile region that is a crucial global energy supplier and home to several Western military bases.
Kuwait, which diversely most of its fellow Gulf Cooperation Council members have not cut off ties with Qatar that has been leading efforts to mediate.
Its emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah held talks on Wednesday with Qatari counterpart Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, following talks with senior UAE officials and Saudi King Salman.
US President Donald Trump, who had originally backed the measures against Qatar in a tweet, called Sheik Tamim on Wednesday with an offer “to help the parties resolve their differences”.
Qatar presenter the Al-Udeid military base, the largest US airbase in the Middle East. Home to some 10,000 troops, it is central to the US-led fight against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.
– Foreign policy gone wild –
Analysts say the current turning point is in part an addition of a 2014 dispute, when Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain temporarily evoked their ambassadors from Doha over Qatari support for Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood.
A top Gulf official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP a major concern was the effect of Sheikh Tamim’s father, Sheikh Hamad, who had allowed the Taliban to open an office in Doha and helped arm Syrian rebels before uphold in 2013.
The official said, “The previous emir is a big supporter of this whole extremist agenda, so we do have an issue.”
Doha has for years forged its own alliances in the region, often separating from the politics of the six-state GCC and taking in leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Palestinian Hamas and members of the Afghan Taliban.
A senior Emirati official told AFP this week’s conclusion was not aimed at a change of regime in Qatar but to pressure the country to reshape its policy.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash told AFP, “This is a foreign policy that has gone wild, we need to put everything in check.”
Gargash said the four Arab states seek a “political commitment to change course” by Qatar, including ending its support for the Brotherhood and Hamas.
Bahrain on Thursday followed the UAE in stating that expressing sympathy for Qatar over the sanctions was a lapse punishable by jail.