HE Minister of Foreign Affairs: With regards to the crisis the region is going through, and specifically the arbitrary actions that have been taken against the State of Qatar, and illegal actions by placing a land, sea, and air blockade against it. These measures have been taken by three states in the Gulf, and they are the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Bahrain, with coordination with Egypt. We were surprised by these measures, a week or ten days after the continued media escalation against the State of Qatar. As everyone was aware, there were statements that were launched immediately after the launch of these procedures. There were accusations and a mixture of contradictions in these accusations. As I mentioned to you before, these measures came after a series of systematic media attacks for a period of nine or ten days after the piracy crime against Qatar News Agency. There are appreciated efforts from His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed, the Emir of the State of Kuwait for mediating between the nations, and we still support these efforts, and we see that the main and strategic choice for the State of Qatar is dialogue, but we have to look at the side that is illegal and arbitrary in these measures, and it is closing borders, separating families, and the key human rights issues of the State of Qatar that have been violated by such measures. Therefore, we greatly appreciate the role of friendly countries that we have visited for standing by our side to lift these illegal measures.
The State of Qatar believes that all disputes must be resolved through dialogue and not through attacks in the media arena and by taking unfair procedures, and that dialogue should be undertaken on a clear basis and not on media fabrications, and therefore there must be a firm position towards these illegal measures that were built on these fabrications. We in the State of Qatar are ready to participate in positive dialogue, but according to the basic principles and criteria that govern any dialogue in accordance with international law. This is what we have assured the nations that we have visited, and this is what these nations supported.
Question: Is there a clear united European position? And is there maybe European mediation, or even French mediation?
HE Minister of Foreign Affairs: The mediation by the State of Kuwait has a leading position in mediation, and other friendly countries and allies coordinate with the State of Kuwait in a complete way, and the United States also has a role in coordinating with Kuwait. There is no European mediation but there is support for ending the problem and to resolve this crisis, and non-escalation from all European nations, the stability of the GCC states is very important for the world and international community. The GCC is a spot of stability in a region with many conflicts. Unfortunately, undertaking these kinds of measures in this time and among all other crises around us, the priority became getting rid of the State of Qatar instead of resolving these problems and other crises.
Question: Have you begun the legal cooperation with the siege?
HE Minister of Foreign Affairs: Yes, we have taken specific measures with the International Aviation Organization, and we are taking other measures in all legal irregularities that have been taken against us. Al-Jazeera is considered an internal matter in Qatar, and no side has any right to negotiate over this. With regards to hosting certain parties, you mentioned Mr. Al-Nuaimi, he is a person who is being tried in the State of Qatar under Qatari laws, and I don’t see any link or relationship between these people and the Gulf countries, especially as he is being tried here in the State of Qatar.
The third issue is related to our policies with Iran. Our policy with Iran is consistent with the Gulf States and in accordance with the decisions of the GCC summit, and we don’t have a policy or cooperation that goes beyond the cooperation of Gulf states with Iran. Of course, we don’t have the size of trade that links Saudi Arabia with Iran, as Qatar is ranked fifth between the Gulf States in the trade exchange framework with Iran, and the United Arab Emirates is ranked first. If this matter is related to Iran, then why have these measures and punishments been taken against Qatar and not Iran, therefore I don’t think the matter is related to our policy with Iran or Al-Jazeera. Even now, we don’t know the reasons as to why these measures have been taken.
As for matters concerning negotiations, we are ready for dialogue and negotiation and all that concerns the collective security of the GCC nations, we are ready to discuss it and to discuss the effects of our polices on the collective security of the Gulf states, and the accusations that we won’t interfere in their internal matters. Yes, they can reveal these accusations, and we have the full right to respond to these accusations.
As I mentioned, the matter is related to the sovereignty of the country, and we have an independent foreign policy. We have our own decisions in accordance with our assessments and in accordance with our principles, and all that concerns our internal affairs, except that which concerns Al-Jazeera network or otherwise, as no side has the right to dictate or to impose guardianship over us on these matters.
President Macron was very active in communicating with all the various and different parties involved in this crisis, and he called the Emir three times, and we are in continued communication with French authorities. France, as I mentioned, was very active in calling all concerned parties to stop and reduce escalation, and invited them to dialogue, and they support the initiative of Sheikh Al-Sabah, and the mediation that he leads.
Question: There was a statement yesterday that the brothers in Qatar are ready to understand the real concerns of their brothers, and to respond to high endeavors to promote security and stability. Can your Excellency please explain this, what does it mean that you understand the concerns of your neighboring states?
HE Minister of Foreign Affairs: We understand if these concerns are related to their internal affairs, and are related to assumptions they have that we interfere in their internal affairs, we understand if their concerns are related to assumptions they have that our policies have an effect on the security of their nations. We must sit on the table and come to an understanding on them, and refute these accusations, and respond to them, just like they have the right to accuse we also have the right to respond, , and we have the right to find the proof of these accusations. The State of Qatar respects the law, and respects international law. We are a state that doesn’t interfere in the internal affairs of other states. We are a state that has worked with every effort with the nations of the GCC, with all honesty and with all transparency with them on all regional matters, a state that supported the GCC process, a state that did not differentiate in the march of the GCC. The false allegations that are being sent every day by authority figures that the State of Qatar interferes in their internal affairs, and that the State of Qatar has harmed their security, these are all false allegations. If these allegations were true, they would have been looked at on the table before these media fabrications were sent.
Question: Is the State of Qatar ready to stop supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas? And will we see Hamas officials outside Doha? Is this matter possible, or will Doha back down from it?
HE Minister of Foreign Affairs: With regards to your specific question about the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, regarding the matter of the Muslim Brotherhood, the matter of Qatar supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, this is an accusation we are fed up with. The State of Qatar deals with governments; the State of Qatar is not a political party. The Muslim Brotherhood, if they are in the power of a state, there is nothing preventing us from dealing with this power. The Muslim Brotherhood were a part of the power in Egypt, the State of Qatar did not support the power because of the presence of the Muslim Brotherhood. The State of Qatar supported Egypt under the power of the Military Council before the Muslim Brotherhood, continued these programs and did not cease them because the Muslim Brotherhood were a part of the power. The State of Qatar supported Tunisia when the Muslim Brotherhood were in power, and supported Tunisia even more after the Muslim Brotherhood left power, the State of Qatar is concerned with the government, concerned with the state itself, and concerned with the people. The State of Qatar does not deal with a political party as a party, the State of Qatar deals with the governments as long as they are the governments, therefore the State of Qatar deals with them like that. There must be a distinction in the matter that the State of Qatar has a relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood, this claim is false, and has no basis of truth to it. As for your question that the State of Qatar supports Hamas, and that there is objection from the GCC states to the State of Qatar’s support of Hamas, that claim is false. First of all, the State of Qatar does not support Hamas.
The State of Qatar used to host the political office of Hamas, now the political office of Hamas is in Palestine, but there is a purpose of hosting the political office to support negotiations, to end divisions, and to reach a national Palestinian reconciliation. The political authorities of Hamas are located inside Palestine, some of the authorities are found in the State of Qatar, they are in the State of Qatar in accordance with the agreements of the authorities inside. However, the main reason for that presence is due to negotiations between Palestinian authorities, between the Fatah movement and the Hamas movement, in order to reach a national reconciliation. The claim that the State of Qatar supports Hamas is false. The State of Qatar’s support is clear and transparent, the State of Qatar's support for the rebuilding of Gaza through international mechanisms, and there is a complete transparency in dealing with these amounts. The State of Qatar supports the Palestinian people, and supports the Palestinian government, and the national united government in Palestine. As for a link between the State of Qatar and a specific group, and a specific party, this is merely a way to level more accusations against the State of Qatar. Now the GCC states object to a relationship between the State of Qatar and the Hamas movement. As for the GCC states, it is not listed on terror lists, so why has this objection been brought up now. The Hamas movement is a resistance movement for the Palestinian people, and we deal with it as a faction of other political factions inside Palestine. With regards to the State of Qatar stopping any specific support, the State of Qatar will not stop any support, the State of Qatar will continue with its programs and its support of peoples and governments.
Question: What is the position of the United States of America? Where is the Arab League, and who are the Arab nations siding with Qatar?
HE Minister of Foreign Affairs: The question that you should be asking is this: Where is the Gulf Cooperation Council? The GCC, I swear to God, we have not heard a position from the GCC or the Arab League. Unfortunately, these regional organizations must be effective in situations like this, and we have not heard any positions from them. A simple position came from the Arab League, and it is not clear in this situation. As for the position of the United States, the position of the United States is clear and calls for calm, it wants all parties to engage in dialogue, and this is what we support in the State of Qatar. I believe the efforts of the United States are continuing to pressure the sides to go to the dialogue table, and to lift the siege off the State of Qatar.