Foreign Minister: Dialogue Is Qatar's Strategic Choice for Settling Disputes

HE Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani expressed regret over the move by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and UAE, in cooperation with Egypt, to sever ties with the State of Qatar, saying that it is an "unprecedented escalation" and stressing that the strategic choice of Qatar is to solve any crisis through dialogue.


"Regarding the reasons for this escalation, honestly, we don't know if there were real reasons for this crisis or whether it was based on things we're unaware of," HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani was quoted as saying during an interview with Al Jazeera.


The foreign minister added that if there were real reasons, "there wouldn't have been such an escalation and the media fabrications wouldn't have portrayed such a wrong image about Qatar in an attempt to undermine its security and stability" based on "false stories and fabrications."


"If there were real reasons, it would have been put on the table for discussion during the GCC meeting, but none of that was mentioned. It wasn't mentioned either during the American-Islamic-Arab summit in Riyadh. There were no indications whatsoever," HE the minister added.


HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said the escalation started when fake stories began to be circulated in the wake of the hacking of Qatar News Agency website, adding that such "fabrications were used as a basis for an unprecedented media escalation that reached advanced stages we never had in GCC countries, especially when there is an abuse of GCC countries by the media based in these countries" and falling to a low level of abuse, but "we will not fall to that level and will not meet the escalation with escalation."


"There was supposed to be an address by HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani to the Qatari people regarding the recent developments," HE the foreign minister said, adding that the speech was postponed after a phone call from HH the Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah in order to allow HH the Emir of Kuwait "the space to move and make contacts with the conflict parties and try to contain the issue as he always did."


HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said HH the Emir of Kuwait played a big role in the 2014 crisis. "We in Qatar and HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani look up to him as a father and respect his desire to postpone any speech or step until the crisis has a clearer picture."


HE the foreign minister added that the countries in question took "unilateral" and "unprecedented" measures that affected the citizens and family ties that connect GCC peoples. "At the end, there won't be any escalating measures in response from Qatar because it believes such disputes among fraternal countries should be solved at a dialogue table," the foreign minister said, adding that there must be a disclosure session to discuss points of view, identify the areas of difference and work to limit them while respecting each side's opinions.


HE Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said contacts were made with the foreign ministers of fraternal and friendly countries, during which everyone expressed their solidarity with Qatar and voiced their hope that the conflict be contained as soon as possible and that efforts are made towards that end, noting that many of them offered their help. "For us, the strategic choice of the State of Qatar is to solve any dispute through dialogue."


HE the foreign minister said "we are going through extremely difficult circumstances and challenges and there are wars in the Arab world and people killed whether due to terrorism and extremism or terror crimes committed by regimes against their peoples, and there is a crisis in Yemen, Syria and Libya, and these challenges must unite us. We are surprised that at such a time, a GCC country is being attacked by other GCC countries."


"There are question marks over the future of GCC because internal ties in the council should be based on solidarity and cooperation and everyone knows that Gulf peoples are united by one culture as well as kinship," HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani told Al Jazeera, adding that "using the council as a tool to impose a guardianship on a member state or thinking about imposing a guardianship on the State of Qatar, interfering in our internal affairs and addressing the people is unacceptable."


He added that HH the Emir "directed us to have a strategic program" for the State of Qatar so that it is not affected by any measures that might be taken by regional countries and to "work to be self-reliant in providing basic resources so that life would go by normally for citizens and residents."


The foreign minister said daily life and projects in Qatar will not be affected, stressing that Qatar designed its programs and took such steps in order to independently achieve its vision regardless of any political pressures.


HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said there are "inaccurate statements" regarding the closure of airspace and land and marine siege, adding that the only measure that might affect movement is the closure of borders but maritime and air paths are international paths to provide daily life needs and life will go on normally.


HE the foreign minister pointed to the campaign that was aimed at Qatar in Western capitals and the United States, expressing regret that some GCC ambassadors are carrying out a campaign of incitement and distortion of the reputation of Qatar contrary to the basic charter of GCC and the social cord between GCC states. "No matter what the differences between our countries are, we must discuss them within GCC rather than export them to Western capitals, but we noticed a campaign of incitement in the past few days led by some GCC ambassadors to demonize the State of Qatar and aim accusations and fabrications at it, especially in cases of financing terrorism."


"As for central institutions in the United States, our relations with them are extremely excellent and it is a strategic partnership in the peace process and counterterrorism. The Qatari-American ties are not led by marginal institutions, but from official institutions that take their positions on the basis of strategic partnerships," HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said.