29 July 2017
(Daily Qatar Tribune)
Qatar on Friday said it won’t bow down to Saudi-led demands to”outsource” its foreign policy to resolve the ongoing Gulf crisis.
In an interview with AFP, Director of the Government Communications Office HE Sheikh Saif bin Ahmed al Thani said the countries imposing a siege on Qatar are looking to use the crisis to control Doha’s foreign policy decisions.
He accused Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt of attempting to interfere with Qatar’s foreign policy decisions.
“What’s behind this crisis of course is Qatari sovereignty and independence to put it very simply. It is about… outsourcing our foreign policy so that decisions are not made in Qatar, and that is something that will never be acceptable,” he said.
Sheikh Saif said one of the issues stalling a resolution of the crisis was a list announced by the four countries including individuals and entities which they accuse of terrorism.
The Saudi-led bloc had laid down a new”ultimatum” on Tuesday by publishing a list of individuals and”terrorist” entities allegedly linked to Doha.
“This list, it’s still an ultimatum, it’s still something that is stalling resolution of the crisis,” he added.
“However, we have said from the start we are open to dialogue, we are open to negotiating… The first step should be lifting the illegal blockade.”
Sheikh Saif said,”This crisis, again, was triggered by them not by us.”
He stressed that lifting the illegitimate siege was non-negotiable and Qatar had no issues with discussing all matters openly as long as it does not infringe on Qatar’s sovereignty and independence.
Sheikh Saif reiterated Qatar’s outright denial of charges levelled by the Saudi-led bloc of links to terrorism. “We do not support terrorism in any way. This is all false, we actually do the opposite and we actually do more than them when it comes to countering terrorism,” he argued.
Sheikh Saif pointed to the signing by the US and Qatar in mid-July of an accord to combat the financing of terrorism. “It’s the first time such an agreement is signed between two countries… It sets new international standards on such cooperation in countering terrorism,” he added.
He also noted Qatar’s participation in the US-led coalition battle against the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq, with sorties flown out of the Al-Udeid airbase, the US military’s largest in the region.
“To say that Qatar is not doing enough, it’s just a campaign that the blockading countries have been running for a while now… to divert attention away from them,” he said.
Sheikh Saif said Qatar had”the support of the US”, while its adversaries had”more problems than we do when it comes to terrorism”.
Sheikh Saif said Doha had proof that the UAE was behind the hacking of its national news agency, QNA, a key trigger of the diplomatic crisis.
As for demands to close Al Jazeera, Sheikh Saif said,”This is not a new request to us, but this (is a) step that we will never considered come what may.”