HE the Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani has described the partnership between Qatar and the United States as "very strong".
In an interview with Swiss newspaper Le Temps, the FM said that Qatar hosts the biggest US military base outside America as well as the headquarters of the International Coalition against ISIS, adding that the two countries also co-operate in the fields of security, counter-terrorism, defence and economy.
He stressed that the lesson learned by the unjust siege is to reduce its dependence on its immediate neighbours, pointing out to Qatar's commercial openness to many countries.
"The siege countries accuse us of spreading lies about the telephone conversation that took place between His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. And that is unacceptable," he said, explaining that the Gulf crisis was not expected and there were no indications of its occurrence. The FM pointed out that a few days before the beginning of the crisis, Saudi Arabia was a very strong ally of Qatar, adding that everything that had happened was orchestrated to justify the siege, and that it concerned a group of countries whose actions could not be predicted.
The FM said that the GCC countries' consensus is necessary to ensure that regional security is not jeopardised, despite the differences of views on a number of issues. He also explained that the siege countries do not want a rational exchange of arguments. "They want to put us under guardianship," he said adding "We are a sovereign country. We have the same rights as Saudi Arabia, regardless of the size or strength of our country."
Responding to a question on relations with Iran, the FM said that from the beginning, Qatar has been defending the idea of overcoming differences with Iran through dialogue rather than confrontation. On the other hand, he said that the Arab peoples revolted against dictatorships, "We had to move when these dictatorships started killing their own people." He explained that Qatar has tried to assist these regimes to make some reforms, "But when these attempts failed and the dictators began to kill their own people, we had to take a side, and we chose the people," he said.
The peoples of these countries are the ones who ignited the revolutions of the Arab Spring and not Qatar, he stressed, adding, "these peoples deserve appreciation for this achievement."
The FM also pointed out that the peoples of the Arab Spring countries believed in the possibility of reaching peaceful solutions, and there was no terrorism at that time, explaining that violence started when these peoples were subject to the brutality of the regimes. He pointed out that the terrorist organisations benefited from this situation in strengthening their forces.
On Qatar's relations with Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), the FM said, "the countries that accuse us of supporting what they call a terrorist movement are the same countries that support Hamas." He pointed out that any assistance to the people of Gaza is welcomed because the people desperately need it.
He said that Qatar, along with several countries, has a joint operation room working for moderate groups in Syria. "We still believe in the realism of the hopes placed in the Free Syrian Army or the reorganisation of moderate forces," he said. The minister also pointed out that there is an international commitment in this regard, but part of the international community now focuses on the fight against ISIS, and no longer speaks about the regime of Bashar al-Assad, which killed more than 500,000 people.
The FM said the solution to the Idlib issue lies in re-establishing the moderate opposition and providing it with more aid, adding that it was the lack of support for the moderate opposition that allowed the Nusra Front to strengthen its influence.
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