Qatar has remained strong and dignified despite the illegal siege by the four Arab states, the emir has led the way and has refused to bend to the pressure from blockading nations.
He once again reaffirmed his stand during an interview with US broadcaster. Talking to host Charlie Rose, the emir confirmed that Qatar would not go for a solution at any cost.
“Nothing is going to be above our dignity, our sovereignty. But we want it to end. I always say that. If they (are) going to walk one meter toward me, I‘m willing to walk 10,000 miles towards them,” he said.
On the blockade coming as a shock…
The diplomatic issue began after an Arab-Islamic-American Summit in Riyadh, which saw the presence of US President Donald Trump and representatives of 55 Arab and Muslim-dominated states, and Shiekh Tamim was one of them.
“It was a shock,” Sheikh Tamim said, referring to the blockade.
“A few weeks before that, we were meeting, all of us together, in one room, including President Trump. We were discussing terrorism, financing terrorism, and nobody brought any concern from those countries. Nobody told me anything,” he added.
On his readiness to have discussions…
The Emir said that he was ready to attend US-hosted talks to resolve the crisis, but there was no response from the Saudi bloc to the Trump’s offer.
“We want it [the crisis] to end. But nothing is going to be above our dignity, our sovereignty. But we want it to end, I always say that. If they going to walk one metre toward me, I’m willing to walk 10,000 miles towards them.”
On siege nations looking for regime change…
The emir said that the blockading states were looking for a leadership change in Qatar.
“History as well tells us, teaches us, they tried to do that before, in 1996 after my father became the emir. They don’t like our independence, the way how we’re thinking, our vision for the region,” he said.
“We want freedom of speech for the people of the region and they’re not happy with that, and so they think that this is a threat to them,” added Sheikh Tamim.
On how they ignored Qatari people’s resolve…
“I think they (blockading nations) underestimated the Qatari people. I’m so proud of the people,” he said.
“Qatar after the 5th of June is not like Qatar before. We’re proud of what we were. We’re proud of our history. But after the 5th of June, it’s different. We’re stronger,” he added.
On the determination to keep Al Jazeera…
He confirmed that the network would not be closed as demanded by the siege nations who accuse the broadcaster of bias and interfering in their affairs.
“We’re not going to shut down Al Jazeera. Our sovereignty is a red line. We don’t accept anybody interfering our sovereignty. When you tell me to close a channel like Al Jazeera, history will write one day in 50, 60 or 70 years how it changed the whole idea of free speech in the region,” he said.
On his unexpected path to becoming HH the Emir…
He said that he never expected to become the Emir because he was not in line to be the successor. His ambition as a teenager was to become the Arabic Boris Becker. But things changed on a night when his brother HH Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani asked to see him.
“He said, ‘you, you’re the best choice. And you’re much better than me.’ He said that. I remember. I was shocked. I said, ‘Jassim, what are you talking about?’ (That was the first time I thought) I’ll be the heir apparent,” he said.