Accusations against Qatar have no solid base: Former Prime Minister

(MENAFN- The Peninsula) QNA

Doha: Former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Qatar H E sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor Al Thani said in an interview that the accusations made by some Gulf countries against Qatar "have no solid base".

While appearing in the Charlie Rose show on PBS, he asked the countries, which isolated and cut off relations with Qatar, to provide evidence on their allegations about financing terrorism. He pointed out that the claim of these countries by publishing a list of so-called support of terrorism was not shared with Qatar through the right channels.

The former Prime Minister also demanded that the international law should tackle the violations made by the countries that have isolated Qatar, asking:" Where is the International Law?"

He added that these countries have cut the food supplies, ripped families and closed airspaces and the sea routes.

He expressed surprise at the action taken by these countries, which came shortly after the Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani attended the Riyadh summit.

Talking about the allegations against Qatar of special relations with Iran and funding of terrorism, he said that when it comes to trade with Iran, Qatar's commercial dealings with Tehran is miniscule compared to other Gulf state's trade with Iran.

Qatar maintains a normal relation with Iran because "we are neighbours and we share a gas field," but we disagree with Iran on Syrian war and its position regarding Bashar Al Assad.

"Do we have a special relation with Iran against our GCC allies and brothers? That is of course completely false".

"This is a big joke," stressing that there is not a single incident where Qatar was supporting Iran.

He stressed Qatar's readiness to hold an open dialogue if the problem is related to Iran, "But this is not the solution," he said.

The Former Premier also asked, whether the isolating countries have cut off their relations with Iran or close the embassies of Iran? Did they request this in the GCC and we oppose that? Nobody bring it to the GCC.

On the allegation of supporting terrorism, former prime minister said that Qatar is a partner with United States after the September 11 attacks. He added that US troops came to Qatar from Saudi overnight, before setting up the American base and Qatar facilitated their arrival and offered all the facilities, after the threats made by Osama bin Laden that no Islamic state should host US troops.

Ever since, Qatar is a partner with US in fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen and other places.

"We have fully secured these forces and hosted them all those years, and we were caught by surprise being accused of supporting terrorism. Which terrorism are we supporting?" he asked.

In response to the allegation about Qatar's support for Muslim Brotherhood, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim said that 'the Muslim Brotherhood is a name for many groups, some of whom represent people in parliaments of some countries, and some are those who pursue violence which we do not agreed with. He stressed the need for differentiating between these groups.

He said that Qatar dealt with Muslim Brotherhood when they were elected by the Egyptian people, and when the military toppled them, Qatar was the first to support the Government of President Abd El-Fattah El-Sisi, because it is an internal Egyptian affair.

He added that the Tunisian revolution brought an Islamist government, which was replaced after elections with another government. However, Qatar dealt with the new government and helped it with financial support, although it does not belong to the Muslim Brotherhood, he explained, emphasizing that Qatar supports any country that asks for assistance.

On Syria, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim said: "In Syria everybody made mistakes, including the US. As time passed we discovered that some groups have other agendas and we stopped dealing with them one after another." He stressed that these mistakes were not intentional pointing that the terrorist organizations "once they are finished with Syria, they will come to us".

Former Prime Minister said that the measures taken by some Gulf countries against Qatar came on the basis of Qatar's support for Gaza Strip, pointing out that some viewed this support as "a mistake".

On the impact of these measures taken against Qatar, he expressed pride in Qatari people for supporting the Emir, stressing that Qatari people realised that the Emir is sincere and has tried to build special relationships with his brothers in the GCC countries. He pointed that majority of Gulf citizens did not support such measures.

Pointing to the statute governing the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the Former Prime Minister asked whether the council had convened and made any accusations against Qatar. He also asked whether the GCC Secretary-General had issued any statement about this situation, concluding to the result that the GCC might not be reliable in the future.

'If Saudi Arabia disagrees with any country, they will do what they want without referring to the GCC," he said adding that he respects King Salman and Saudi Arabia, but this position has changed many things for the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council. Asked whether Saudi Arabia was behind the decision, he said that Saudi Arabia and the UAE have announced the implementation of these measures, expressing belief that taking this step is not only a dispute.

On the position of the United States of America and its mediation to resolve this crisis, he said: "I think any mediator should look to the matter from both sides equally until having the right evidence. No doubt that at the end United States will do the right thing because it has institutions that will look into the matter and will realize that we have been taken on incorrect assumptions."

He pointed that the core of the issue is that some countries in the region want to dictate their policy to others, stressing that this is unacceptable to Qatar, which is an independent sovereign state that has the right to pursue its own policy.

Regarding the Kuwaiti mediation, the Former Prime Minister said that Emir of the Kuwait H H Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah is making mediation efforts, adding that the Emir of Kuwait is respected by all GCC member states. He added that the two mediators, US and Kuwait, will eventually come to the conclusion that all the allegations against Qatar are baseless.

On how to get out of this crisis, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim, said that the first step is to activate the role of GCC. He added that USA, as an ally of all parties, should stand at the same distance from everyone. "If there is any problem, Qataris will correct it without hesitation," he stressed.

With regard to Qatar's Support for Hamas, he said that everyone knows Qatar helps in providing electricity in Gaza Strip and has also reconstructed some houses, hospitals and other buildings that were destroyed by Israeli forces in 2005. Everyone valued these efforts and the GCC countries pledged to provide funds to Gaza Strip in the same year.

He pointed out that the US government asked Qatar to encourage Hamas to take part in the Palestinian elections.

On the presence of some members of the Taliban movement in Qatar, he said that there are five Taliban members in Qatar at the request of the US.

He said that there has not been any disruption in the Qatari-US relations before the Gulf crisis. He expressed confidence that Washington will deal with the Gulf matter fairly when the truth is clear.


The Peninsula

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