Siege countries surprised by Qatari people's steadfastness: envoy

(MENAFN- Gulf Times) The siege countries, which tried to put pressure on Qatar till it responds to their dictates, were surprised by the steadfastness of the people of Qatar and their loyalty to their wise leadership as well as the measures taken by the government to preserve the country's dignity and sovereignty, Qatar's ambassador to Serbia sheikh Mubarak bin Fahad al-Thani has said.
In an interview with diplomacy and Trade magazine, the ambassador said that Qatar has proved that it does not support terrorism and does not tolerate terrorists or their supporters.
He stressed that Qatar supports peaceful approach for resolving conflicts in the Middle East and all over the world and that it works with peace loving regional and international powers to achieve its goals.
'We call upon others to follow the example of Qatar in the fight against terrorism and to root out its sources. We also call on them to sign memoranda similar to what we have signed with the United States on combating terrorism before firing unfounded accusations, he said.
HE Sheikh Mubarak bin Fahad al-Thani urged the siege nations to engage in dialogue instead of fabricating media reports that seek to demonise Qatar.
Responding to a question about economic motives behind the claim that Qatar is close to Iran, the ambassador said that some countries in the region have relations with Iran that outweigh Qatar's relations with the country. For example, the UAE has close economic ties with Iran, as the trade volume between the two countries reached around USD 16bn last year. The UAE also accounts for 90% of the trade volume between Iran and the Gulf countries combined, he added.
The Qatari ambassador explained that the relationship between Qatar and Iran is characterised by realism and mutual interest that is punctuated by the principles of international relations and international law. These relations are not directed against any party in the region or outside it, he said.
Responding to a question about his opinion on the role of Al Jazeera Network as a global media outlet since its inception, HE Sheikh Mubarak bin Fahad al-Thani said that Al Jazeera is a source of pride for Qatar as a free platform for opinion. He pointed out that the support it received from various international media and press federations and unions against the demand for its closure is a strong evidence of its leading role in the international media.
He added that Al Jazeera no longer belongs to Qatar or the Qataris, as it has become a free platform that reflects the hopes of the people in freedom. Being as such is frightening to some parties, he pointed out.
On his expectations for ending the Gulf crisis, the ambassador said that since the beginning of the crisis, Qatar has called for dialogue as the best way to resolve it. It has also supported the honest and sincere mediation of the Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Jaber al-Sabah.
He pointed out that Qatar is still committed to dialogue to resolve the crisis on the basis of respect for sovereignty in accordance with the historic speech delivered by His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.
On the prospects of boosting economic co-operation between Qatar and Serbia, Sheikh Mubarak bin Fahad al-Thani said that the agreement on economic, trade and technical co-operation and the agreement to protect and encourage mutual investments between the two countries provided a legal framework to enhance economic co-operation between them.
He expressed hope for the establishment of a platform for dialogue between businessmen in Doha and Belgrade through the setting up of a Serbian-Qatari Business Council and the promotion of co-operation between the chambers of commerce of the two countries to increase trade volume, which currently ranges between USD 6 and 7mn.
The ambassador stressed that the investment opportunities in Serbia are numerous, pointing out that country has made remarkable progress in improving the business environment and that it is characterised by many natural resources, strategic geographical location and highly qualified cadres.


Gulf Times

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