Qatar’s Deputy PM and Foreign Minister HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said that US is backing to resolve the crisis.
“The Trump administration is encouraging all sides to end the dispute and has offered to host talks at the Camp David presidential retreat, but only Qatar has agreed to the dialogue,” H E Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said.
Al Thani will be meeting Secretary of State Rex Tillerson next week following talks with Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker and ranking member Ben Cardlin and other congressional leaders.
“The Middle East needs to be addressed as the top priority of the foreign policy agenda of the United States,” he told reporters in Washington yesterday. “We see a pattern of irresponsibility and a reckless leadership in the region, which is just trying to bully countries into submission.”
He said Qatar was ‘well prepared’ even if a military action occurs and has the support of its defence partners, including France, Turkey, the UK and the US, which has a base in Qatar.
“We have enough friends in order to stop them from taking these steps,” but “there is a pattern of unpredictability in their behaviour so we have to keep all the options on the table for us,” he said. On the US military presence, “if there is any aggression when it comes to Qatar, those forces will be affected,” he added.
“Already, the boycott is impacting the US-led coalition fighting Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria,” the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister said.
Qatar’s C-17 transport aircraft are the main planes ferrying logistical support to coalition partners, such as Jordan and Turkey. But because Qatari planes are barred from flying over Saudi, Bahrain and the UAE, “we have only one pathway to fly, which is via Iran,” so that if there’s an emergency the planes may have to land in the Islamic Republic, he added.
The minister also compared Saudi Arabia’s political manoeuvres in Lebanon to its boycott of his country and accused Riyadh of a dangerous escalation.
He also stressed that Qatar was ready to have a dialogue to resolve the crisis. However, he stood by Qatar’s stance, arguing that Riyadh is responsible for detonating a series of Middle East crises, by intervening in Lebanon, boycotting Qatar and bombing Yemen. “This is something we have just witnessed in the region: Bullying small countries into submission,” the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister said, suggesting that Saudi aggression is a new regional threat.
“Exactly what happened to Qatar six months ago is happening now to Lebanon,” he said.
“The leadership in Saudi and the UAE should understand that there is a world order that should be respected. International law should be respected,” he said. “There is no right for any country to interfere in other countries,” he argued, warning: “There is a pattern that is very risky for the region, and very intimidatory.”
Responding to terror funding accusations, Al Thani said that it was a propaganda and the entire campaign was based on baseless accusations. He said that Qatar is a partner of US in war against terrorism.
He said that the US always expressed its appreciation for this relationship and there was no indication that it wanted to close its base in Qatar. “In fact, we are developing this relationship further.”
The minister said that Qatar is getting support of US to end the crisis but the Saudi-bloc were taking illegal actions and refused to have talks with Qatar.