HE the Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani expressed surprise at the reaction of GCC members putting Qatar under siege following the hacking of Qatar News Agency’s website.
Speaking during a televised interview on Qatar TV, the Foreign Minister said that contact was made with GCC foreign ministers requsting them to disregard what had been transmitted. However, that communication did not get any response except from the ministers of Kuwait and Oman.
They expressed their solidarity and requested Qatar not to escalate the situation by responding to the actions of the media in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
The Foreign Minister added that Qatar for its part responded to this request.
The Foreign Minister said that things are moving along naturally with other GCC member-countries.
He added that there were regular meetings before the hacking incident, at the GCC and at bilateral levels.
The Foreign Minister noted that there was even a visit by His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani to Jeddah that involved discussions related to the GCC and bilateral ties.
No side discussed any differences of any kind and there were no signs of differences as the meetings were friendly, the Foreign Minister added.
He also said that it was surprising that the response to the hacking came in the manner it did.
Especially, he added, that Qatar noted that there were pre-recorded tapes of analysts who defamed Qatar.
On investigations into the hack, the Foreign Minister said that there was an initial report released a few days ago but they were still waiting for a detailed one from the entities that dealt with the Ministry of Interior.
He noted that there will be a detailed report presented on the matter.
On the allegations directed at Qatar from the countries putting it under siege, HE Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said that the problem was the lack of “accurately-determined accusations” by the countries in question.
The Foreign Minister said that they accused Qatar of supporting and financing political foes, but added that Qatar is betting on the awareness of the Arab street which became capable of distinguishing between what is right, and what is being exaggerated.
The Foreign Minister said that cases should be built on logic and so far, nothing of what has been presented has any of it.
He added that Qatar, for its part, does not want to slip into responding to such allegations as they answer themselves.
On the recording televised by Bahraini television, The Foreign Minister said that the timing of airing that recording undermined its credibility.
He added that there was Qatari mediation to stop the bloodshed, done with the knowledge of Saudi and Bahraini authorities.
He stressed that media was discussing those mediation efforts, but making such an accusation now reflects that they are relying on the short-term attention span of the receiver.
It was also taking the conversation out of its historical context and undermining its credibility.
The Foreign Minister expressed his belief that they have not succeeded with that accusation because the conversation makes it clear that Qatar was not involved in an act of incitement, but rather looking to calm the situation.
On the Kuwaiti mediation, HE the Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani pointed out that there are strong efforts by the brothers in Kuwait, led by Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Jaber al-Sabah, and there are continued visits by the Kuwaiti brothers to the countries that have taken those unfair measures.
However, no demands have been put forward, the Foreign Minister said adding: “This is why we are confused about the statements of officials in these countries, who sometimes say they will hand over their demands to the State of Kuwait and sometimes say that the list of demands has not yet been prepared.”
This uncertainty is evidence of the fragility of the basis of the actions against Qatar, he added.
On postponing the speech of His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, the Foreign Minister said that the Emir wanted to address Qatar’s people and residents, explaining that he responded to the desire of the emir of Kuwait on giving an opportunity for the mediation efforts.
Regarding Saudi Foreign Minister Adil al-Jubeir’s statement that Saudi Arabia is working on a list of complaints, the Foreign Minister said that the demands were not clear, adding that that “the matter started with talks about demands that will be resolved within the Gulf states, then it was changed to demands that will be handed over to the US....and then they became complaints.”
“These contradictions and accusations are evidence of the fragility of the actions, which we wonder whether they were taken to change Qatar’s policies or to impose guardianship over it”.
As for the diplomatic steps taken by Qatar, the Foreign Minister said: “We relied on the diplomatic solution and stated that the solution should be through dialogue. In addition, Qatar’s citizens and residents refused to be dragged to the low level of abusive rhetoric against Qatar.”
The Foreign Minister said that Qatar’s diplomatic moves were aimed at explaining the Qatari point of view, especially after some parties sought to internationalise the dispute and started foreign visits to convince others to follow the measures against Qatar.
“In Qatar we went to those countries to explain our point of view because of our common interests, their keenness on the stability of the region and because they are aware of Qatar’s standards in handling political and counter-terrorism issues,” HE Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said.
There have been positive positions supporting the containment of the dispute and lifting the blockade on Qatar, he added.
On the contacts made by the three Gulf states, the Foreign Minister said that they moved in different directions towards African countries and the countries that need to be pushed to take positions and measures against Qatar. “There are those who followed them,” he said adding: “But Qatar knows its friends well.”
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