Qatari FM rejects calls to 'surrender our sovereignty'

Speaking in London, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani accuses regional media outlets of calling for ‘regime change’ in Qatar

Qatari FM rejects calls to 'surrender our sovereignty'

World Bulletin/ News Desk

Qatar’s foreign minister on Wednesday rejected what he called demands by other Gulf states for it to “surrender our sovereignty.”

He made the remarks to reporters at the London headquarters of the Chatham House think-tank about the ongoing political crisis plaguing the Arab Gulf states.

"Beginning in April, Qatar was subjected to a carefully orchestrated and unprecedented smear campaign aimed at misrepresenting our policies on key issues effecting the region,”

Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said. At the time, said Al Thani, Qatari officials had told regional news outlets that Qatar’s official news agency had been hacked. Nevertheless, he added, media outlets in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) had promoted statements falsely attributed to the Qatari emir as genuine.

On May 23, the Qatar News Agency (QNA)’s website was compromised by hackers who posted remarks -- falsely attributed to Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani -- regarding U.S. foreign policy and Iran. Although Qatari officials insisted the remarks were the work of unidentified hackers, tensions soon escalated between Riyadh and Doha, with Saudi media questioning Qatar’s “hacker” story.

The crisis came to a head on June 5, when Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt and Yemen all abruptly cut diplomatic relations with Doha, accusing it of meddling in their internal affairs and supporting terrorist groups. Mauritania followed suit shortly afterward, while Jordan downgraded its diplomatic representation in Doha.

Saudi Arabia also sealed its land border with Qatar, geographically isolating the tiny Gulf state. Doha, for its part, strenuously denies that it supports terrorist groups, describing the moves to isolate it as “unjustified” and in breach of international law.

Speaking in London, the Qatari foreign minister criticized certain regional media outlets for openly calling for “regime change” in Qatar. He went on to say that the list of 13 demands issued by the countries now arrayed against Qatar -- including calls to close Doha-based broadcaster Al Jazeera -- was tantamount to a demand to “surrender our sovereignty”.

Qatar, he asserted, “will do whatever it takes to protect our people”. Stressing that Doha had consistently called for resolving the crisis through dialogue, he said Qatar had always supported the international fight against terrorism -- despite assertions to the contrary now emanating from Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and Cairo.

Qatar, he said, rejects foreign interference in its internal affairs and “welcomes any serious efforts to resolve our differences with our neighbors”.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 06 Temmuz 2017, 06:18