Qatari envoy: Demands to halt defense ties with Turkey against int'l law

ANADOLU AGENCY
ISTANBUL - ANKARA
Published 20.08.2017 21:46

Qatar's ambassador to Ankara said Saturday that severing the country's defense ties with Turkey is an "obvious intervention of internal affairs."

"This goes against all international law and norms," Salem bin Mubarak Al-Shafi said in a written statement on the demand to close the Turkish base.

"The closure of this base and demanding that our defense relations with Turkey be interrupted would be an obvious intervention in our internal affairs, an infringement on our rights to sovereignty and the assumption of a tutelage over us," he said.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain cut diplomatic ties with Qatar in June, imposing a sea and land blockade and accusing Doha of supporting terrorism.

The four states presented a list of demands to Qatar to end the blockade, including the closures of Al Jazeera television network and their Turkish base in Doha. The group threatened additional sanctions if the demands were not met. Doha denies the accusation of terrorism and contends that the blockade is a violation of international law.

Al-Shafi said, "The Qatar state is an active member of all platforms in the counterterrorism fight, politically, financially and militarily. The same goes for the international coalition led by the U.S. in the fight against Daesh."

Regarding the blockade, he said, "We cannot open to debate our sovereignty, independence, or anything else that interferes in our free will to decide." "The majority of the international community and world powers, including the major countries [the U.S., Germany, France, England and Russia], have rejected the unlawful so-called practice of the UAE against the Qatari state."

UAE backs counter-revolutions

Meanwhile, Qatar's ambassador to Turkey accused the United Arab Emirates of supporting "counter-revolutions in the Arab world for restoring dictatorships." In a statement issued on Saturday evening, Ambassador Salem Al-Shafi said, "The UAE and a number of allies have paid around $40 billion to consolidate the military coup in Egypt alone," in reference to the ouster of Mohamed Morsi, the country's first freely elected president, in 2013.

"We say that these countries have not learnt the lesson well," he added. "Blaming Qatar, using bold terms such as counterterrorism and attacking the moderates with a view to winning the West will not help protect them from the people."

Al-Shafi denied accusations against Qatar of backing extremists in the Middle East.

"There are some Arab countries which are afraid of revolutions," he said. "Instead of reforming their regimes and fulfilling the people's aspirations, they heap the blame on Qatar and the so-called political Islam." The ambassador stressed that Qatar was "doing all it can to serve security and stability in the region in a way that does not clash with aspirations of the people."

UAE's role in Qatar crisis ‘visible for all'

Al-Shafi added the UAE's role "in triggering the crisis with Qatar has become visible for all." "Our technical and legal investigations, in cooperation with the FBI and NCA [Britain's National Crime Agency] have categorically proved this," he said, in an implicit reference to the hacking of Qatar's official news agency.

Last month, the Washington Post said the UAE had orchestrated the hacking of Qatar's state-run news and social media sites "to post incendiary false quotes attributed to Qatar's emir, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani."

The hacked reports said Qatar's emir called Iran an "Islamic power," and heaped praise on Palestinian resistance group Hamas, among other controversial claims.

Blockade states dismiss mediation

The Qatari envoy said the UAE and other blockade states "have rejected any foreign mediation to solve the crisis." UAE State Minister for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash had earlier in August called on Turkey to "remain neutral" in the crisis with Qatar.

Since the Gulf crisis began, Turkey, a longtime ally of Qatar, has rushed to Doha's aid, dispatching vast amounts of humanitarian assistance, in addition to troops, to the beleaguered Gulf state. "The international community and most world countries have rejected UAE allegations and illegal measures against Qatar," Al-Shafi said. He said Doha had restrained from taking "vengeful" measures in response to the blockade.

"We hope that they [the blockade states] will return to reason," he said. "We believe that they will ultimately return to dialogue."

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