*Siege nations putting GCC at risk, says Sheikh Mohammed
HE the Foreign Minister Sheilkh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani has called on countries that have cut ties with Qatar to stop attempting to influence its foreign policy.
"They are claiming that Qatar is interfering in their internal politics, there is nothing against Qatar. Qatar never accepts interference in any country's politics, and doesn't accept others to interfere in our politics," Sheikh Mohamad said after a meeting with members of the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium.
"While the blockading countries accusing Qatar for this, they are interfering in our internal affairs by the incitement they are carrying out to our people," he said.
The minister said Qatar does not believe in internationalising the Gulf crisis; rather Qatar believes in the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) and resolving the crisis through dialogue.
Speaking at a press conference, the foreign minister stressed it was Doha that initiated the call to respect the Kuwaiti mediation.
He said the countries of the West did not respond to the accusations against Qatar about supporting terrorism, noting that the siege countries did not provide any evidence to support their accusations about Qatar's interference in their internal affairs.
Sheikh Mohamed said it was the siege countries that violated the Riyadh Agreement, adding that these nations have put the GCC at risk by attacking a member state.
He said there is consensus within the GCC on a general policy that each member state is sovereign.
The minister called on the siege countries to prioritise resolving other crises, instead of creating a new crisis with Qatar.
Referring to Haj, the foreign minister said Saudi Arabia has not facilitated the pilgrimage process for Qatari citizens, and that Doha holds the Saudi authorities responsible for their safety during the pilgrimage season.
The minister said Qatar withdrew its ambassador from Iran in solidarity with Saudi Arabia and returned him to Tehran after the causes ceased to exist.
He said the siege countries do not accept others' opinions, and accuse all those who disagree with them of supporting terrorism.
The minister said their list of "terrorist" individuals and institution was based on their own assessments.
Sheikh Mohamed stressed Qatar is committed to all its contracts even in the midst of the crisis, and that the country is working with international organisations to manage the aviation affairs.
Zero tolerance towards terrorism
Earlier in an interview with Indian television channel CNN-News18, the foreign minister said Qatar shows zero tolerance towards terrorism, its sympathisers, financiers and supporters.
He expressed Qatar's appreciation for India's position "which has been neutral and called for dialogue to solve the Gulf crisis".
"Some 700,000 Indian people live in Qatar and are contributing along with the Qatari society for the development of the country, a matter which is appreciated by the Qatari government and people," he said.
The minister spoke to the channel during his visit to India last Saturday.
The minister said the Qatari government had pledged from the outset that the Indian community, like other communities, will not be affected by the blockade, and "that is why we have taken immediate measures to ensure the continued flow of basic necessities while ensuring that prices do not exceed their purchasing power."
On the impact of the siege on Qatari society after Qatari nationals living in the siege countries were forced to leave, the foreign minister said that Qatari residents in those countries were not there for work - they were there as students or staying due to family reasons.
The siege affected mixed families and Qatari students completing their education in those countries, he added.
In another interview with Republic TV channel, Sheikh Mohamed said he discussed during his meeting with Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj strategic relations between Qatar and India.
He stressed the siege will have no impact on the diplomatic relations between Doha and New Delhi, stressing that India plays a very important role in the process of economic development of Qatar, and that Indians form the largest community and its members live safely in Doha, adding that the Qatari government is committed to providing security.
On the rapprochement between Qatar and Iran, which the four countries described as one of the main reasons for the siege on Doha, he said when the Saudi embassy in Tehran was targeted, "we showed all forms of support for Saudi Arabia and we withdrew our ambassador from Tehran, but Iran is the only country that has opened its borders to us. And if it did not take such action, it would be an isolation for Qatar."
Regarding the West's view of Qatar as a modern state rather than conservative, he said Qatar has been the most developed country in the Gulf region for 20 years.
It is home to many foreign universities, the religious landscape is varied and everyone practices his religion freely.
"Qatar has evolved in its own way and the siege we have been facing is an incentive for us to move towards development policy," he said.