Qatar’s commitment to and role in combating terrorism far exceeds that of any of the blockading countries, the Qatari embassy in Canada has stressed.
“Qatar regrets the siege countries’ fierce campaign, false accusations and lies attempting to connect Qatar to any form of terrorism,” the embassy said in a statement, noting that the blockading countries – Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt - failed to provide any evidence to back the baseless allegations against Qatar even a month after imposing the blockade.
Qatar continues to strongly believe in a diplomatic solution and calls for a dialogue based on clear principles to resolve the ongoing Gulf crisis, but only after the siege is lifted, the
statement points out.
“This dialogue should be based on respect for the sovereignty of Qatar and on the principles of international law, taking into consideration that dialogue and negotiations require a real will and commitment by the other parties as well as presenting evidence to support any claims or demands from Qatar.
“Qatar’s commitment to and role in combating terrorism and its financing far exceeds that any of the blockading countries,” the statement stressed. “This important role was once again highlighted on July 7 by US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis by emphasising the importance of Qatar’s contributions to the anti-ISIS coalition and affirming the commitment to continued US-Qatar co-operation and deepening the strategic partnership,” the embassy noted.
The statement refers to Qatar’s position vis-à-vis the blockade, the baseless allegations against it and the humanitarian implications of the siege.
Highlighting Qatar’s efforts in combating terrorism, the embassy said the country is a proactive member in the fight against terrorism and the drying up of its sources of funding, and has taken a number of measures to address this issue.
Qatar hosts the US Central Command, the base of the global coalition against ISIS and all other terrorist groups. It has also enacted counter-terrorism laws, established a national committee on terror financing and countering terrorism, and never allows persons who support terrorism to stay in or pass through its territories. Also, Qatar’s banks never provide any platform for the supply of funds to terrorists, it observed.
“Successful mediation carried out by Qatar in several crises in the region is solid evidence of its effective contribution to the security, stability in the region and the world,” the embassy said, adding that Qatar is a founding member and funder of the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund that is meant to protect communities from violent extremism. Qatar extended an invitation to host the fund’s next board meeting in September 2017.
The embassy further notes that Qatar also combats terrorism and violent extremism through its support of educational projects, enhancing dialogue and religious tolerance, propagating peace and providing work opportunities for the youth.
Qatar provides more than 300,000 jobs in North Africa to fight the despair that surrounds young people, and provides education for 7mn children in 42 countries, thereby “replacing the weapon with a pen” and teaching children not to fall into joining extremist organisations, noting that most of the children in refugee camps receive their education from institutions that Qatar supports.
Also, Qatar’s major charity organisations that have been falsely accused of funding terrorism implement projects in more than 70 countries in partnership with the United Nations and prominent NGOs, where they apply the best established financial transparency standards, and use internationally renowned audit firms to monitor and report their activities to the public. This is in addition to registering all financial assistance and grants with the Financial Tracking system that is managed and operated by the UN.
The statement also highlights Qatar’s ‘Open Door policy’, noting that the country has mediated in nearly 10 regional and international portfolios in less than eight years (2008-2016). It has exerted “strenuous diplomatic and political efforts at the regional and international levels in mediating between factions, entities and countries, with the request of the parties concerned, and without interfering in the internal affairs of others, with a view to achieve convergence of views and find sustainable solutions for conflicts and differences, which resulted in several peaceful settlements in both the Middle East and Africa”.
Qatar doesn’t endorse any political movement but simply provides a platform for negotiations aimed at achieving peaceful resolutions that would otherwise be absent in the region, and Qatar recognises a group as terrorist once it has been designated by the United Nation Security Council or if there is proof it has committed violence.
Also, Qatar’s success in playing this role of mediator or negotiator has always been with the support of the international community and in close co-ordination with its allies. The statement points out that former CIA director and retired US General David Petraeus stated a few days ago that Qatar’s hosting of delegations from Hamas and the Taliban was upon the request of the US.
The Hamas representation in Qatar is a political one, as some of its leaders come from Gaza to Doha to participate in negotiations aimed at national reconciliation in which Qatar plays the role of mediator, the statement continues. “These negotiations are supported by the international community and in co-ordination with the US, as Qatar does not support Hamas, but supports the people in Gaza and the unity of the Palestinian people.”
Qatar hosted the Taliban office in Doha upon a request from the US government and as part of “Qatar’s open door policy to facilitate talks, to mediate and to bring peace, as Qatar was facilitating talks between the Americans, the Taliban and the Government of Afghanistan”.
Regarding Al Nusra Front and how Qatar helped release a US journalist held in custody, the embassy stressed that dealing with Al Nusra Front does not mean Doha supports the outfit’s ideas. Qatar has only played the mediator’s role in facilitating dialogue and has no direct communication with the group.
The Muslim Brotherhood group is not designated by Qatar as a terrorist organisation, yet Qatar does not support this group, as it does not exist in Doha. The Muslim Brotherhood is represented in several parliaments in the region, including in Bahrain, one of the siege countries, which clearly reflects a double standard when one of the siege countries’ demands is for Qatar to classify the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group.
The fact that Qatar doesn’t support the Muslim Brotherhood group is clear in Qatar’s policies towards both Egypt and Tunisia, where Qatar supported any individual that assumed the presidency regardless of their political affiliation.
Qatar’s willingness to assist the global community in addressing different crises in the region has not been hindered by this crisis, as it hosted last month the 10th meeting of the major donors group for Syria. Since the beginning of the crisis, Qatari aid to the Syrian people has reached more than $2bn, the statement added.
(This statement was issued by the Qatari embassy in Canda.)
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