Qatar said yesterday it was the victim of an orchestrated smear campaign in sections of the media over its alleged “support” for terrorism, which Doha denounced as a “lie”.
In a strongly-worded statement issued by Sheikh Saif al-Thani, the Director of the Government Communications Office, Qatar said it had been deliberately targeted ahead of US President Donald Trump’s visit to the region, which began yesterday.
“In the run-up to Donald Trump’s trip to the Middle East, an orchestrated barrage of opinion pieces by anti-Qatar organisations in a variety of mainstream and online publications has alleged that Qatar is sympathetic to, or turns a blind eye toward the actions of terrorist groups in the Middle East,” read the statement.
“This is absolutely and unequivocally false.”
The statement added: In fact, as the authors of these articles must know, the government of the State of Qatar - like all of its neighbours in the Middle East - is a target for these terrorist groups.
They threaten the peace and stability of our region and they put our national sovereignty at risk. Which is why it is absurd to suggest that Qatar would either aid and abet those seeking to finance these extremist groups or harbour an Al Qaeda mastermind, as the anti-Qatar campaigners have recently alleged.
Qatar’s determined efforts to defeat terrorism have been acknowledged and appreciated by the security and intelligence services of the United States and its allies, who value Qatar’s substantial contributions to the battle against violent extremism.
These efforts are long-standing and ongoing, and will continue until the scourge of terrorism is eliminated in the Middle East and around the world.
Our approach to countering the terrorist threat is both tactical and strategic.
On the tactical level, Qatar is an active member of the US-led coalition to defeat ISIS and proudly hosts America’s Combined Air and Operations Center at Al-Udeid air base.
Qatar is also battling terrorism at the strategic level through our support for education, reconstruction and economic development programmes throughout the Middle East.
We have provided educational opportunities for more than 7mn children and we have created more than 300,000 jobs, offering hope for a better future to those most at risk of terrorist recruitment.
To cite a relevant example, Qatar was instrumental in securing the passage of the so-called Doha Declaration at the 13th UN Crime Congress in 2015, which authorised the creation of a comprehensive programme to counter violent extremism through prisoner rehabilitation, social integration and youth education initiatives. Our $49mn contribution will help ensure that the UN’s good intentions are followed by concrete actions to address the terrorist threat.
None of this is to suggest that Qatar has a magical solution to the problem of radical extremism and global terrorism. We do not. But we are absolutely sincere in our commitment to battle and defeat this scourge, and to suggest otherwise is deceitful and disingenuous.
We can assume that at some point in the future the identities of the sponsors of the anti-Qatar campaign will be revealed. When that happens we will, perhaps, learn the true motive behind their efforts to damage Qatar’s good name. Until then, there is one thing we know for certain: their allegation that Qatar supports terrorism is a lie.
Muslim countries keen on enhancing counter-terrorism
Secretary-General of the Muslim World League Dr Mohamed al-Issa said yesterday that Arab-Islamic-American Summit in Riyadh gains prominence given the different developments in issues of the region and the world.
He added that Muslim countries look forward to more partnerships that establish peace and counter-terrorism.
Al-Issa said in remarks he made yesterday that the Muslim World League has its own programmes to promote these goals, including ones that educate about the true nature of Islam and its moderation.
The Secretary-General said that the visit of US President Donald Trump will contribute to enhancing strategic partnerships between the two sides and will help promote stability in the world, particularly in terms of the fight against terrorism.
He added that the visit reflects the status of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the Arab and Islamic worlds, as well as being a testament to the historic partnership between the two sides.
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