Doha / Information Office / May 25
HE the Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said the State of Qatar will address the media campaign targeting it, against a backdrop of the hacking of Qatar News Agency's (QNA) website and attributing false statements to HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani.
It is clear that there is a media campaign targeting the State of Qatar and we will definitely address it, HE the Foreign Minister said during a joint press conference with the Somali Foreign Minister, HE Yussef Jarad Omar Ahmed, held here today.
It is noticeable that there was no mention of Qatar in the opinion articles, for example, in the United States of America, but in the past five weeks we were surprised by the publication of 13 opinion articles on Qatar by different writers in the United States, HE the Foreign Minister said.
There was on the same day of the cyber attack on QNA's website a conference on Qatar, to which we were not invited, was held in the United States bringing together all those who wrote these articles against Qatar and on the same night the cyber attack occurred, HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said, wondering whether it was a coincidence or not.
The hacking attack on QNA's website and attributing false statements to HH the Emir is without doubt a cyber crime, he said, adding that Qatar will not rush to issue the results until the investigation is over.
On Qatar's relationship with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Member States, the Foreign Minister said that Qatar has always maintained strong and fraternal relations with the GCC Member States because it strongly believes that GCC countries should be one entity.
He pointed out that what is happening today has nothing to do with the "misunderstanding" that occurred between the State of Qatar and some of the GCC countries in 2014, referring in this regard to Qatar's fruitful participation in the Arab Islamic American Summit in Riyadh and the ongoing distinguished and fruitful relations.
If there is something different that we do not know about, that's something else, he went on saying.
In this context, HE the Foreign Minister stressed the State of Qatar's keenness on maintaining good relations with the GCC countries.
The region's current circumstances require concerted efforts of the GCC Member States, he said.
HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani described the hacking of QNA's official website as a cybercrime and not only a hacking according to all laws, stressing that the hacking which took place is crime punishable by law.
The cyber-attack targeting QNA's websites was intended to broadcast alleged statements attributed to HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, he said.
An investigation team was set up and is in charge of conducting a full criminal investigation to bring the perpetrators to justice, he said, noting that the findings of the investigation would be revealed in a transparent manner both in terms of the investigation process and its findings.
The Foreign Minister expressed his surprise over the attitude of some of the media which adopted these false statements, despite the issuance of clear statements of denial by QNA about this offensive campaign to the State of Qatar, warning that what is going on at these media reflect their low level of professionalism.
What has been seen from the GCC public opinion in particular confirms a full awareness that rises far above the level of these media, he said.
On the issue of cyber security in Qatar, HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said the electronic security system and firewalls in the State of Qatar are of the highest standards and are strong and solid, adding that all state agencies use the latest technology in the world and cooperate with each other under the government umbrella.
Cyber-attacks and hacking operations are inherently sophisticated while security systems are not necessary able to keep pace with the fast development of cyber attacks, the Minister commented.
The State of Qatar will take a number of additional steps to strengthen its electronic security system, he said, reiterating that the firewalls and means of protection in all sectors of the state are at the highest level and very difficult to be hacked.
The hacking of QNA's website is still under investigation and will permit to know the gap through which the cyber attack took place in order to avoid it, he added.
On the measures and steps taken by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the false statements attributed to HH the Emir, the Foreign Minister explained that what happened was a cyber-attack on QNA's website following which explanations from the Government Communications Office, QNA were immediately issued followed by a clarification from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Contacts with the brothers in the GCC Member States are ongoing and never stop, HE the Foreign Minister said, noting that there was no contact on the issue of the cyber attack because there is a clear picture of what happened.
He pointed out that what has been discussed in some media outlets is a matter for these outlets and we did not receive it from official channels.
With regard to who is behind the hacking of QNA's website, the Foreign Minister said that there is no evidence at this time whether the attack was from outside or inside Qatar.
He stressed that once the facts of the case and the evidence are collected, which will take time, the State of Qatar will take what it deems appropriate in this regard.
If this cyber-attack was committed in the country it shall be considered as a cybercrime and the perpetrators shall be prosecuted according to the law.
In response to a question on Qatari-US relations, HE the Foreign Minster stressed that bilateral relations have been and remain strong and strategic and that the US administration highly appreciated ??this relationship, referring in this regard to the talks held by HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani with US President Donald Trump in Riyadh, during which he stressed the role being played by Qatar in combating terrorism and describing Qatar as a partner in this prospect.
The Al Udeid Military Base in Qatar is governed by an agreement between the State of Qatar and the United States of America, HE the Foreign Minister said, noting in case of the occurrence of anything related to this matter, it will be subject to the terms of the agreement.
In response to a question on Qatar's relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood, the Foreign Minister explained that such matters are not raised at the official level because there is no evidence that the State of Qatar has a relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood movement in Egypt or Tunisia, noting that this issue is only raised by media vehicles.
The State of Qatar has always clearly stated that it is not concerned with political parties and that it deals with governments.
When the Muslim Brotherhood was in power, cooperation with them has continued both in Tunisia or Egypt, because they represented the legitimate government, HE the Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said, noting that once they were out of power cooperation took place with elected governments.