Will not surrender independence of foreign policy

09 June, 2017, 09:25 | Author: Clay Erickson

Qatar is not ready to change its foreign policy to resolve a dispute with fellow Gulf Arab states and will never compromise, foreign minister said.

In an interview with AFP, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani described as an attempt at "collective punishment" a decision by Saudi Arabia and its allies to cut ties with Qatar over alleged financing of extremist groups.

The emirate is still home to leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Palestinian Hamas and the Afghan Taliban.

Asked if Qatar could say anything to reassure its Gulf opponents, Ghobas replied: "It is true it will be hard in the long run if they agree to sign another document and then decide to drag it out for many months or years and to continue to fund extremist groups".

He said there had been no change to Qatar's military deployment and no troops had been moved.

The minister added that Qatar would respect its LNG gas agreement with the United Arab Emirates, despite the UAE allying with Saudi Arabia in the rift.

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Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman's comments come a day after high-level UAE government official told AFP news agency that the unprecedented measures against Qatar aim to pressure the country into making drastic policy changes. Qatar relies heavily on food imports, especially those coming over its only land border with Saudi Arabia. Riyadh also wants Doha to alter the editorial policy of the Qatar-funded TV broadcaster Al Jazeera, which the Saudis accuse of meddling in domestic affairs of other nations.

"For us, the strategic choice of Qatar is to solve any dispute through dialogue", Sheikh Mohammed added. We are not looking at military options at all.

"We have been isolated because we are successful and progressive..."

The Qatari foreign minister said he still did not understand what the accusations against Doha were all about.

"We have not asked for mediation, we believe this issue can be dealt with among the states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)", he told a news conference in Berlin. "We are a platform for peace, a platform for alternative policy in this region", he added.

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