The State of Qatar’s ambassador to Austria, Sheikh Ali bin Jassim al-Thani, has affirmed Qatar's commitment to dialogue and finding a solution to the crisis without compromising its sovereignty as a state.
"The State of Qatar is committed to the principles of the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC), which oblige member states to resolve their differences internally and through diplomatic means," the Ambassador said in an interview with the Austrian daily DiePresse, stressing that the tactic of siege and boycott violates these rules as well as international law and human rights.
On the demands made by the siege countries, the ambassador said that they demanded that Qatar abandons its sovereignty and its independent foreign policy and demanded that freedom of expression be blocked through the closure of Al Jazeera. “The other party formulated its demands in a way that cannot be accepted due to legal considerations.”
Regarding the accusations levelled by the siege countries against Doha of supporting terrorism, Sheikh Ali said: "We live in a country that upholds law. We have strongly mobilised all our resources in fighting this phenomenon, and we are a party to the international coalition against terrorism led by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (Nato), the United States and the Europeans."
“Regrettably, the State of Qatar was saddened by the news of the imposition of the siege on it and the demand by the siege countries to their citizens to leave Qatar, forcing them to return to their countries under threats of severe penalties if they did not comply with this decision and causing dispersal of families and unnecessary pain.”
Asked about the position of Qatar on armed uprising against the regime of Bashar al-Assad, the ambassador pointed out that the uprising in Syria came directly from the Syrian people, and Qatar has nothing to do with it, adding: "We are working closely with the international coalition to end this crisis."
The ambassador also reviewed Qatar's relations with other countries of the world, including Iran, stressing that each sovereign country has the right to determine its domestic and foreign policy directions according to its interests. "We are keen to establish good political relations with all our neighboring countries. The State of Qatar has deep-rooted relations with Saudi Arabia. As for Iran, we have not done anything different from what the rest of the GCC countries were doing."
He pointed out in the same direction that Qatar's trade relations with Iran remain very low compared to that of the UAE's as an example.
Responding to a question on ways to end the Gulf crisis, Ambassador Sheikh Ali said, "Dialogue is needed as we have emphasised since the beginning of the crisis. We will continue to adhere to this principle. We call on the other party to take the same step."
The State of Qatar welcomes and supports the mediation efforts undertaken by the Emir of Kuwait, he said.
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