A solution to the Gulf crisis will come only from within the Gulf, HE the Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani has said.
In an interview to Qatar TV, he said Qatar appreciated the efforts undertaken by Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah to resolve the Gulf crisis and his wisdom since the beginning of the crisis to contain the dispute within the Gulf. “Qatar has supported his mediation efforts and continues to do so, and so has the international community. In my view the solution to the crisis will come only from within the Gulf.” He thanked “the brotherly and friendly countries that have supported and continue to support this mediation”.
The prime minister said the crisis was created to interfere in the internal affairs of Qatar. “This is unacceptable and is a red line for us, and the people of Qatar.”
Sheikh Abdullah said irrespective of the siege, Qatar is continuing to implement all its major projects, including World Cup projects to be completed, ahead of time.
“God willing, the World Cup will be a great event organised by Qatar, and will be a source of pride for all of us Arabs.”
Asked about the possibility of resolving the crisis, he said this was not the first crisis or disagreement that has occurred between GCC countries. “Previously, these have always been solved through dialogue and direct contact. Today, in this crisis, there has to be a will and good intentions to resolve it, especially among the Gulf countries, which have strong brotherly ties.”
He reiterated Qatar’s position of dialogue being the only way to end this crisis, and said “Qatar is open to dialogue provided that the sovereignty of states and the principle of non-interference in internal affairs are maintained”.
The prime minister expressed hope that as ever, friendship and brotherly relations are capable of overcoming any crisis.
Asked about the siege nations accusing Qatar of supporting terrorism, he sad the accusation is false, “and has other aims, which are known to everyone”. He said the allegations contradicted international recognition of Qatar’s efforts to combat terrorism. He said all other GCC interior ministers are well aware of the efforts of Qatar in safeguarding the security of every citizen in the Gulf - regardless of what is being said in the media.
The premier said the Emir has given him clear directives, “when he was still His Highness the Crown Prince, and again when he became the Emir in 2013: The security and safety of Qatari citizens carries the same importance for us as the security and safety of GCC citizens.”
Qatar has also taken proactive steps in the fight against terrorism, he said and cited the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the United States on countering terror financing, in addition to co-operation with many countries in this regard.
To a question on producing essential goods in Qatar, the prime minister said until the siege, Qatar was importing most of the food items from the blockading countries or through them, because at the time the country believed in the economic integration of the GCC, and did not want to produce goods to compete in the Gulf market.
“At the beginning of the crisis, His Highness the Emir told me, verbatim: ‘The citizens and the residents are your responsibility. We do not want them to be affected [by this] at all.’”
He said Qatar has now taken steps to achieve self sufficiency and pointed out that today the dairy production covered 40% of the needs of the Qatari market. “We are currently working on increasing the production of meat, poultry and agricultural products, as well as fish farming. “We will achieve self-sufficiency in some products in the coming year, God willing, as this is a clear directive from His Highness the Emir.”
Commenting on the “new aspects” of the crisis and the path chosen by the blockading countries, he pointed out three things: orchestrated conspiracies, low standards of journalism and ignoring the humanitarian impact on GCC citizens.
“We will not allow our country to be harmed. Qatar is not an easy target and it will remain glorious, “ he concluded.
lThe interview with HE the Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani can be seen on the following Qatar TV social media accounts:
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