06 Jul 2017 – 3:12
Minister of Foreign Affairs H E Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said yesterday Qatar will do ‘whatever it takes to protect our people’, and Gulf states that have imposed a blockade on Doha of trying to undermine his nation’s sovereignty.
He told the Chatham House think tank in London that “Qatar continues to call for dialogue”.
“We welcome any serious efforts to resolve our differences with our neighbours,” he said, adding: “We don’t accept intervention in our own affairs. I think if we are not going to have a proper dialogue which will get us to a solution…we are setting a precedent for the future which might be a challenge for other countries in different regions,” he added.
He accused Saudi Arabia and its regional allies of “demanding that we must surrender our sovereignty as the price for ending the siege”.
Without divulging the details of Qatar’s response, the Minister said Doha has done its part, and it is now the turn of Saudi Arabia and its allies to respond. “They are the aggressors, and they are the countries which launched an attack on Qatar by imposing all these measures,” he said. “So I should expect from them to take the first step in engagement.
“Whatever measures they are going to take, there is an international law which everyone should respect. We took the first shock, and we are ready to move ahead with our people. We are going to do whatever it takes to protect our person, which is normal for any country.”
Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said charges cited by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt in cutting diplomatic and transport links a month ago “were clearly designed to create anti-Qatar sentiment in the west”.
“Qatar continues to call for dialogue despite the violation of international laws and regulations, despite the separation of 12,000 families, despite the siege that is a clear aggression and an insult to all international treaties, bodies and jurisdictions,” added the Minister.
“Reading between the lines, the blockading countries were demanding that we have to surrender our sovereignty to end the siege, something which … Qatar will never do,” he said.