Embargo on Qatar Violates Charter of Gulf Cooperation Council
At the core of the present Gulf crisis is Qatar’s resistance to the desire of some countries in the region to dictate their policy to others, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister HE Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor al-Thani has said.
Qatar, an independent and sovereign state , has the right to pursue its own policy and cannot accept such demands, he stressed.
The accusation of financing terrorism levelled by some Gulf countries against Qatar has “no solid base” , he said in an interview with the Charlie Rose show on PBS.
HE Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim demanded the countries that cut off relations with Qatar should provide evidence of their allegations.
The former Prime Minister demanded that international law should tackle the violations, including cutting off food supplies, separating families and closing of airspace, made by the countries that have isolated Qatar .
He expressed surprise at the position taken by Saudi Arabia and others soon after the participation of HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani in the Riyadh Summit.
In response to the allegation of Qatar’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood, HE Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim said: “The Muslim Brotherhood is a name adopted by many groups, some of whom represent the people in parliaments of some countries, and there are some who pursue violence which we do not agreed with.” He stressed the need to differentiate between these groups.
“Qatar dealt with Muslim Brotherhood when they were elected by the Egyptian people, and when the military toppled them, Qatar was the first country to support the Government of President Abd el-Fattah el-Sisi, because it is an internal Egyptian affair.”
He said in Tunisia also Qatar supported the two successive governments elected by the people, emphasising that Qatar supported any country that asked for its assistance.
On Syria, HE Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim said everybody including the US made mistakes while dealing with the crisis in that country. “As time passed we discovered that some groups have other agendas and we stopped dealing with them one after another.” He stressed that these mistakes were not intentional.
According to HE Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim , the measures taken by some Gulf countries against Qatar were based on Doha’s support for the Gaza Strip, pointing out that some viewed this support as “a mistake”.
With regard to Hamas, he said everyone knows that Qatar helps in providing electricity in Gaza Strip and has also reconstructed some houses and hospitals that were destroyed by Israeli forces in 2005. Everyone valued these efforts and other GCC countries also have pledged to provide funds to the Gaza Strip.
On the impact of the blockade, the former Prime Minister said the Qatari people were proud to support HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, stressing that the people knew that HH the Emir was sincere and has tried to build special relationships with his brothers in the GCC countries. He pointed that the majority of the Gulf citizens did not support the steps taken by their respective governments.
He pointed out that the punitive measures against Qatar were taken without convening the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC).
“If Saudi Arabia disagrees with any country, they will do what they want without referring to the GCC,” he said adding that he respected King Salman and Saudi Arabia, but the new situation has changed many things for the members of the GCC.
On the position of the US, he said: “I think any mediator should look into the matter from both sides equally until having the right evidence.” He said ultimately the US will do the right thing because it has institutions that are able to find out that the steps against Qatar were taken on incorrect assumptions.
On Qatar’s alleged support for Iran, HE Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim said: “This is a big joke,” stressing that there was not a single incident where Qatar supported Tehran. He added that the Qatar has normal relations with Tehran. He said Qatar is ready to hold an open dialogue if the problem is related to Iran.
Regarding the Kuwaiti mediation, the former Prime Minister said Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, who is respected by all GCC member states, is making mediation efforts. He added that the two mediators, US and Kuwait, will eventually come to the conclusion that all the allegations against Qatar are baseless.
On how to get out of this crisis, HE Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim said the first step is to activate the role of the GCC. He added that the US , as an ally of all parties, should stand at the same distance from everyone. “If there is any problem, the Qataris will correct it without hesitation,” he stressed.
On the presence of some members of the Taliban movement in Qatar, he said that there are five Taliban members, who are in Qatar at the request of the US.
The former Prime Minister said there has not been any disruption in the Qatari-US relations . He expressed confidence that Washington will deal with the Gulf matter fairly when the truth is clear.