Monday, April 22, 2019
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Qatar envoy to US: Blockade on Qatar is a smokescreen

Qatar ambassador to US says in a newspaper article that the blockade is an attempt to punish Doha for its independence.

Sheikh Meshal bin Hamad Al-Thani

Qatar's ambassador to the United States has said that the allegations that Qatar supports "terrorism" and that it is a secret ally of Iran are just a smokescreen for an attempt to infringe upon Qatar's sovereignty and punish it for its independence.

In an article published in Washington Post on Thursday, Sheikh Meshal bin Hamad Al-Thani said that Saudi Arabia and the UAE have portrayed their anti-Qatar campaign as an attempt to force Qatar to abandon its "support for terrorists".

"They know terrorism poses just as much of a threat to Qatar as it does to Saudi Arabia, the UAE and every other nation," Sheikh Meshal wrote.

"The second big lie in this smear campaign is that Qatar is a secret ally of Iran. The Saudis, the UAE and every government in the Gulf maintain diplomatic and trade relations with Iran. In fact, Iran's biggest trading partner is the nation now leading the anti-Qatar blockade: the UAE. But more important, Qatar has been providing vital support to the opposition in Syria - which is battling against government forces allied with Iran."

READ MORE: Arab states issue list of demands to end Qatar crisis

Sheikh Meshal believes that the blockading nations are seeking to isolate and punish Qatar for its independence and "to retaliate against us for supporting the true aspirations of people against tyrants and dictators".

The Qatari envoy highlighted that Qatar has always believed that dialogue, negotiation and compromise are solutions to violence through an "open-door" foreign policy.

"Delegations from the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, Israel, the Taliban, the Muslim Brotherhood and representatives of Western governments have all sat at the negotiating table in Doha for peaceful discussions on the major issues confronting the Middle East.

"This open-door policy allows us to intercede on behalf of governments, such as the United States, that from time to time need to engage but have no communication channels of their own. Qatar has long been the region's central negotiating table, and for that we will not apologize."

Sheikh Meshal said that Qatar has the right to chart its own course, without the interference of other nations.

He also accused the blockading countries of seeking to drive a wedge between Qatar and the US for their own political gain.

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