Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani expressed his country’s full readiness for solving the Gulf crisis through dialogue that respects the country’s sovereignty.
The official highlighted that Qatar’s sovereignty is a red line that should not be compromised, voicing his support for the invitation of US President Donald Trump to a meeting at Camp David “for holding talks with the brothers” to end the crisis as part of his commitment to find a solution to the dispute.
In an interview with the Charlie Rose, host of the 60 Minutes show on CBS News channel broadcast early yesterday, the Emir expressed his full willingness “to walk 10,000 miles toward the brothers, if they walk one metre toward reconciliation”.
Sheikh Tamim said that he was “shocked” by the decision of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt to impose a siege on Qatar as it was not preceded by any remark during a summit he attended a few weeks before with the leaders of the siege countries in the presence of the US President in Riyadh. The meeting discussed the issue of terrorism and its finance.
The Emir denied the charge of funding terrorism levelled against Qatar, adding that the only reason for the siege was that the blockading countries “do not like Qatar’s independence and its support for the freedom and dignity of the peoples and for freedom of speech in the region”. He went on to say that the Doha-based Al Jazeera TV network will not be shut down, adding that history would write one day in 50, 60 or 70 years from now how it changed the whole idea of free speech in the region.
The Emir said the siege countries want to change the regime in Qatar, “as they tried to do that before in 1996, with a view to having Qatar following them, not an independent country”.
Sheikh Tamim warned that any attempt to initiate military action would lead to chaos throughout the region, adding that President Trump has assured him that he would not allow his allies in the region to fight among themselves.
The Emir further stressed that the siege countries underestimated the Qatari people’s ability to face the siege. The Emir expressed pride in his people, pointing out that Qatar has become stronger, and that Qatar after June 5 is different from the Qatar before this date, affirming his pride in Qatar’s history.
Responding to a question about Qatar’s relation with Iran, the Emir said: “Iran is our neighbour. And we have more differences in our foreign policies with Iran, than the siege countries do. But when those countries, our brothers, blocked everything, blocked medicine, blocked food, the only way for us to provide food and medicine for our people was through Iran.”
On the presence of a Taliban office in Doha, the Emir explained that the office was opened on a request from the US in order to start a dialogue with the Afghan movement in Qatar.