Madrid - Information Office -14 January 2018
HE Qatar's Ambassador to the Kingdom of Spain Mohammed Jaham Al Kuwari said Sunday that the accusations of Qatar's alleged financing of terrorism were driven by a desire to change the country's foreign and internal policies.
His Excellency said in an interview with Spanish magazine Viajes Y Turismo that no side discussed any grievances with the State of Qatar in the GCC meetings prior to the crisis. His Excellency added that some of the region's governments does not want a State of Qatar that is open and respectful of religious minorities. Despite that, His Excellency added, Qatar remains committed to dialogue as the key component of its foreign policy.
HE the Ambassador said that the other side does not accept Al Jazeera channel as an independent media outlet, as they do not approve of press freedom in general. They also seek to replace the current Qatari administration with another one that is not forward-looking or modern. His Excellency highlighted that the State of Qatar would never risk having some the world's best universities, hosting the world cup, and strong ties with all countries around the world in exchange for financing terrorism. His Excellency said that it is illogical even to assume such a trade was possible.
Responding to a question on Al Jazeera, His Excellency refused to comment and said that he cannot speak for the media organization as it is independent. His Excellency likened that to the UK's BBC or the US' CNN where no diplomat from those countries can represent those organizations due to their independence. His Excellency noted that Al Jazeera has a board that determines the channels' editorial policy. HE the Ambassador maintained that the news channels might make a mistake just like any other media entity would, but stressed that he remains as a citizen firm in support of freedom of press.
HE the Ambassador discussed the recent arrest of Swiss journalists in the UAE on allegations they cooperate with the State of Qatar and said that his country on the contrary does not write up blacklists that would include independent-thinking school teachers and students. His Excellency highlighted in that regard preventing a U.S. professor from entering the UAE due to a column he wrote criticizing the country. HE the Ambassador stressed that such an approach to development would be futile as it was impossible to pursue development through fear, stressing that it was no good to seek less openness with the rest of the world out of fear. HE the Ambassador then stressed that the State of Qatar seeks to be more open with rest of the world and prosper as a result of the alliances it builds and the support it provides to other countries that understand its policies.
Responding to a question on the unacceptable image the religion of Islam has in several western countries, His Excellency said that the image of the religion deteriorated in the last six years as a result of the terrorism crimes committed by groups who claim they committed them in the name of Islam. His Excellency stressed however that the religion was one of peace and forgiveness.
HE the Ambassador then turned to discuss Qatari-Spanish ties, and said that there were a number of Spanish companies carrying out very important projects in the State of Qatar. His Excellency said there were 60 Spanish companies working in many sectors such as energy, transport, tourism, education, sports, and health. His Excellency also highlighted that the State of Qatar has important investments in Spanish companies.
HE the Ambassador said that the Spanish community in Qatar consists of 3000-4000 residents. Qatar also has a Spanish school, opened by SEC educational institution. His Excellency highlighted that Qatar is the first Arab country to open a Spanish school, and work is underway to establish a second one.
His Excellency said that Spain's democratic principles has succeeded in merging tradition with modernity, noting the prospering of Spain's culture and artistic tradition on all levels.