Washington / Information Office / June 30
HE the Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani affirmed that political solution is the only way to end the current Gulf crisis.
In a gathering hosted by the Arab Center in Washington, HE the Foreign Minister underlined the important role of the United States in ending the Gulf crisis, saying that "the American role is vital as all parties to the conflict are allies of Washington." He called on the United States to continue putting pressure on some parties to reach a solution to the crisis.
The Minister appreciated the efforts of the State of Kuwait for ending the crisis, pointing to the State of Qatar's support for these efforts, because Kuwait is a country in the regional system and it understands the ramifications of the crisis. "The role of Washington is also needed because these countries are allies of the United States," he said, adding that "the US administration plays an active role in supporting the efforts of the Emir of Kuwait, but also committed to mediation between the conflicting parties."
On the position of US President Donald Trump from the Gulf crisis, HE the Foreign Minister said that "the American president could have made sure that the State of Qatar does not support terrorism if he listened to the US government departments which the State of Qatar deals with. These departments know the efforts of Qatar in the fight against terrorism, " he said adding that US President Donald Trump have said in his Tweets that he gets his information from the leaders of the siege countries.
HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani also praised the position of Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Bob Corker, on withdrawing the approval for US arms sales to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, pointing out that this position may help in resolving the crisis.
"We believe that any decision that puts pressure on these countries would help discontinue their siege, and we appreciate this decision which we believe contributes to resolving this crisis," he said.
He also denied that Doha used the US airbase as a bargaining chip saying: "We do not want to use it. There is a long history of cooperation between Qatar and the US and Al Udeid Air Base is an exemplar of the strength of relations between the two countries. There are 11 thousand US troops at Al Udeid."
He added that the two countries value this cooperation and its contribution to the efforts of the international coalition against ISIS. It is therefore important for the security of the region that this base remains effective, he said.
On the demands of Closing Al Jazeera Network, HE the Foreign Minister said that Al Jazeera plays an important role in the region, being the voice to millions. "We believe in its importance and independence," he added stressing that closure of Al Jazeera, if it happens, will be Qatar's decision and will not be forced by another country.
"Qatar is not isolated, it is part of the international community and it has always been a reliable partner to many countries. We will take legal actions to put an end to this siege," he said.
On the Qatari-Turkish relations, he said that it is always as strong, just like Ankara's relationship with the rest of the Gulf countries. "Ankara's position and support for Qatar does not affect its relations with the other Gulf countries, as it calls on all parties to resolve this crisis. He added "This is the position taken by all our allies to ease tension between all parties.
"We thank Turkey for its food support to us," he added.
On the next step after the expiration of the ten-day deadline set by the siege countries, HE the Foreign Minister said that "these requests will be null as they were based on their (the siege countries') beliefs and attitudes and they act as if these shortcomings have been proven". He added "We should start by dialogue, making demands, discussing and verifying these demands, and then comes the stage where we overcome the challenges .. but sending demands with a deadline is an unusual precedent."
HE the Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani pointed that any list of requests or demands should be negotiated, but making non-negotiable demands shows lack of respect for international law.
He stressed that international law governs relations between countries and that there is an agreed framework among the international community to be referred to in times of dispute, adding that making these demands and refusing to negotiate them is an uncivilized way to seek resolving disputes.
On the future of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), HE the Foreign Minister stressed the need for the region to remain united and to pursue the single goal of combating terrorism. He said that there was agreement between the GCC, the United States and a number of Arab countries to combat terrorism, but two days after this agreement, some of these countries changed their stance into siege on Qatar.
Targeting an active country in the international coalition to combat terrorism and attempting to attack its sovereignty and endangering its security raise a big question about the GCC, which is supposed to be a framework for greater internal security towards external dangers with a goal of providing security and peace, he added.
"We believe that even after the end of this crisis there should be a long-term solution," HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said.
On the hacking of the Qatar News Agency's website, HE the Foreign Minister said "We have information provided by the Attorney General in addition to sufficient evidence that some of the siege countries are involved in the incident, and the FBI, which participated in the investigations into the incident, has confirmed this."
HE the he Foreign Minister stressed that the Saudi accusations, on the State of Qatar' failure to implement the 2014 agreement, are baseless. He said that the siege countries violated the Riyadh agreement which, provides for an arbitration mechanism to discuss the demands of any party to the agreement. "We were surprised by all these measures taken against us, especially that we were not informed of anything during the Gulf-US summit. We therefor believe that these countries violated the Riyadh agreement," he added.
On Qatar-Iran relations, he said that Qatar has a clear position regarding these relations, explaining that "Iran is a neighboring country and we must have constructive relations with it, something that can not be achieved without communicating with Tehran.
We are doing all this within the framework of the GCC and we transfer the decisions of the Council to the Iranian officials .. Iran and the GCC exchange proposals and Kuwait is the mediator thereon."
He expressed belief that it was necessary for all GCC countries to have positive relations with Iran, and for the State of Qatar, it had always built its relations on mutual respect and non-interference in internal affairs. "We have borders with Iran and we share a gas field with them." HE the Foreign minister said adding "They accuse us of being the closest to Iran, though Qatar is in fifth place in the volume of trade exchanges with Iran .. we think they exaggerate with regard to reducing the level of relations with Tehran because the measures imposed on us have not been imposed on Iran. We do not know whether it is rational or not."
He stressed that Qatar intends to have constructive relations with all its neighboring countries and will continue to cooperate with all, adding "Our country is under siege and we have one sea access through Iran .. we will do what is necessary for the life of our citizens and residents to continue well."
On the impact of this crisis on the situation in Syria, HE the Foreign Minister said, "We build our decisions on values and reality, not on commitments, and our position on Syria has not changed. He added that the human tragedy should end quickly and fairly, and those who have committed war crimes against the Syrian people should be held accountable. "The Syrians deserve protection from the international community and we will continue our efforts to urge the various parties to provide protection to the Syrian people," he said.
He noted that Qatar stands by the Syrian people as well as the Libyan people and it makes efforts for reconciliation between Eritrea and Djibouti. "We still have several ongoing efforts in Afghanistan and Somalia," he said.
He stressed that the State of Qatar will spare no effort in contributing positively to the achievement of security and peace in the world, which is clearly known to its international allies. "Our constitution stipulates that the Qatari policy preserves the sovereignty and independence of the State and we will not accept any interference from any other country in our internal affairs. These principles are fundamental to our policy," he said.
He stressed that the State of Qatar followed the 'open doors' policy in its foreign relations as it allows entry of opponents. The justification for the foreign policy of the state is dealing with everyone and leaving a room for discussion and negotiations in order to maintain the availability of different options.
HE the Minister of Foreign Affairs went on saying: "When you have a partner who can contact your opponents, you take this as an advantage .. dealing with these opponents does not mean that we adopt their positions." This has been the policy of the State of Qatar for 20 years, he said adding "We had an Israeli commercial office and a political office of Hamas, and we have representation for the Taliban movement and also the largest US base. This does not mean that Qatar follows these opposition organizations. Qatar provides a platform for conflicting parties to find solutions to crises through negotiating ."
He stressed that Qatar's policy is based on adopting the just demands of the peoples and supporting them. He pointed out that during the Arab Spring, Qatar stood by the peoples that stood up against violent and dictatorial governments, these governments have armed several groups and thus contributed to the outbreak of civil wars.
HE the Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al -Thani said: "When it had to choose a side, The State of Qatar chose the right one".