Qatar never backs extremist groups: defence minister

(MENAFN- Gulf Times) lTalks the only solution to Gulf crisis lQatar strives for good relations with all
lArmed Forces enjoy very high morale, always ready to defend country
Qatar has never supported any extremist group in Syria or in any other place but only worked along with international coalitions to ensure the people's welfare, HE Dr Khalid bin Mohamed al-Attiyah, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Defence Affairs, said yesterday.
Talking to Al Haqiqa (The Truth) programme broadcast on Qatar TV, HE Dr al-Attiyah agreed that the Arab Spring uprisings annoyed many countries and regimes in the region but Qatar had not supported any group in particular, saying that Doha-backed only the aspirations of the Arab people.
'Qatar did not experience such troubles due to its steadfast development plans that have been started earlier and focused on the welfare of the people.
Regarding the opening of a Taliban political office in Doha, he explained that the US had asked for this and Qatar welcomed the American request as it would help towards restoring peace and stability in Afghanistan.
Regarding the current Gulf crisis, Dr al-Attiyah said it had its origin in 1996. 'It was followed by unfriendly acts in 2013 and 2014 and culminated in the severing of ties and the blockade of Qatar on June 5 this year.
'I have lived through many events in the region but the hacking of the QNA website to trigger the crisis was something very strange with no precedent, he said.
He stressed that he was with His Highness the Emir at the said event and Sheikh Tamim had not given any statement at all at that venue.
'Immediately after coming to power in June 2013, His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani issued clear instructions to the Cabinet to maintain excellent relations with the GCC countries in everything economy, social and political matters, Dr al-Attiyah recalled.
He said the present dispute against Qatar started in 2013 when it was planned to 'shock the new government and make the country subject to others. However, the Emir withstood all attempts to undermine the country's sovereignty. In 2014, an agreement was signed in Riyadh which was binding on Saudi Arabia and other GCC members. However, the Emir refused to sign a modified document that was not binding on other GCC countries but was Qatar specific, he said.
The defence minister said the campaign aimed at tarnishing Qatar's image now run on Egyptian media is only supported by third party countries. 'They have always interfered to put Qatar's relationship with Egypt in trouble and hinder any progress in relations between the two countries. He stressed that the Emir always gave instructions to support the governments that came to power in Egypt and 'all our dealings were with the governments and not with any political party or particular persons.
He said the UAE ambassador to the US, Yousef al-Otaiba, has been carrying the banner of enmity to Qatar in the US and Washington is surprised at the level of such hatred and animosity. He pointed out that Qatar supported the UAE in hosting Expo 2020 upon the instructions of the Emir and had received thanks in return from the UAE for this.
He said the Emir always believed that the only way to resolve the dispute was open dialogue.
Regarding the readiness of the Qatari Armed Forces to defend the country, he stressed the forces are highly qualified and enjoyed a high morale as the real enemy is terrorism, which is not a conventional one and requires constant readiness.
On the new National Service Law, he said that the law has been referred to the Cabinet by the Emir and it is now with the Shura Council awaiting approval. He pointed out that the law focused on the development of Qataris' skills not only militarily but throughout their entire life.
lThe interview with HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Defence Affairs Dr Khalid bin Mohamed al-Attiyah can be viewed on the following Qatar TV social media accounts:


Gulf Times

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