Asia-Middle East Relations

Qatar targeted by ‘unprecedented’ campaign: Emir

DOHA (AA) – Qatar’s emir said Friday his country has been targeted by an “unprecedented” plot and thanked Turkey for its support during an ongoing crisis with neighboring Gulf states.

“It is clear that the campaign against us was pre-planned,” Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani said in his first televised address since the crisis began last month. ”We took a test and passed it.

“We are ready to resolve all these disagreements and for dialogue,” he said, stressing a dialogue, “built on independence” of the parties and “respect.”

Al Thani thanked Turkey for “putting into force quickly a cooperation agreement signed between us and meeting our basic needs”.

Turkey’s parliament in June ratified two deals to deploy troops to Qatar and train its army. A ship carrying aide and 4,000 tons of food left Turkey the same month for Qatar.

The emir also voiced appreciation for Kuwait for the mediating between the parties. “We hope these efforts will result in success,” he said, while saying he valued the support of the U.S., France, Britain, Russia and Germany for their efforts to resolve the crisis.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain cut diplomatic ties with Qatar last month, and imposed a sea and land blockade while accusing Doha of supporting terrorism.

Doha denies the accusation and contends the blockade is a violation of international law.

“People should no longer pay the price for political disputes among governments,” al Thani said.

Al-Thani also addressed rising tension in Jerusalem where a decision by Israeli authorities to install metal detectors and block Palestinians from entering the Al Aqsa Mosque – a move that has led to deadly violence between the two groups.

“We are in solidarity with Palestinian people, particularly our brothers in Jerusalem. We condemn the closure of Al-Aqsa,” he said.

Hamas spokesperson Fevzi Berhum later expressed his content for al-Thani’s remarks on Al-Aqsa mosque, Jerusalem and Palestine and urged support for “Palestine people and their fair demand”.

Regarding a cyberattack on his country’s official news agency that precipitated the row with the Gulf states, al-Thani reiterated that statements broadcast from the hack were “fake” and “targeted the independence of Qatar.”

In late May Saudi Arabia broadcast remarks by the emir in which he reportedly made statements in support of Iran and seemed to suggest U.S. President Donald Trump would be soon booted from office.

Doha denied the remarks were that of the emir. U.S. intelligence this week reported that the UAE was behind the hack, a claim that was denied by the UAE.

Al-Thani remarks Friday came ahead of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s two-day Gulf tour beginning Sunday, as part of his efforts to resolve the crisis.

Erdogan’s first stop will be in the Saudi port city of Jeddah, where he will meet King Salman bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud and his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman al-Saud.

The Turkish president will then depart for Kuwait and later Qatar, and will meet al Thani and Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah.

Relations among Gulf countries will be the focus of the meetings in which the leaders are expected to exchange views on regional and international issues, and propose solutions to end regional tensions, the Turkish presidential office said.

In late May Saudi Arabia broadcast remakrs by the emir in which he reportedly made statements in support of Iran and seemed to suggest U.S. President Donald Trump would be soon booted from office.

Doha denied the remarks were that of the emir. U.S. intelligence this week reported that the UAE was behind the hack, a claim that was denied by the UAE.

Al-Thani remarks Friday came ahead of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s two-day Gulf tour beginning Sunday, as part of his efforts to resolve the crisis.

Erdogan’s first stop will be in the Saudi port city of Jeddah, where he will meet King Salman bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud and his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman al-Saud.

The Turkish president will then depart for Kuwait and later Qatar, and will meet al Thani and Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah.

Relations among Gulf countries will be the focus of the meetings in which the leaders are expected to exchange views on regional and international issues, and propose solutions to end regional tensions, the Turkish presidential office said.

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