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Sheikh Tamim denies Qatar has links to terrorism

Wam
Filed on May 25, 2017 | Last updated on May 25, 2017 at 05.30 am
Sheikh Tamim denies Qatar has links to terrorism
Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani take part in a bilateral meeting at a hotel in Riyadh on May 21, 2017.

(AFP)

Sheikh Tamim called on Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain to review their stand on Qatar

Qatar has been exposed to an "unfair campaign" that coincided with the visit of US President Donald Trump to the region, the Amir of Qatar, His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, has said.

He said Qatar has been linked to terrorism, "tarnishing its efforts in achieving stability". "We will sue the countries and organisations behind this smear campaign," he said. Sheikh Tamim made these remarks to the Qatar News Agency (QNA) on Tuesday as he attended a graduation ceremony of national service recruits.

"We condemn being accused of supporting terrorism despite our continuous efforts with our brethren, and participation in the international coalition against Daesh," he said. He added that the real danger was the "attitude of some governments which promote terrorism by adopting a radical version of Islam which doesn't represent its tolerant reality".

"No one has the right to accuse us of terrorism just because the Muslim Brotherhood has been labelled a terrorist organisation," he said.

Sheikh Tamim called on Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain to review their stand on Qatar, and "halt the barrage of repeated campaigns and allegations which do not serve common interests".He said Qatar doesn't interfere in any country's affairs.

He stressed that Qatar's relationship with the US is strong and firm, "despite the negative trends of the present American administration".

He pointed out that Al Udeid Air Base is a "protective shield for Qatar from the greed of some neighbouring countries". It is the "only platform for the US to have military influence in the region", he added.

Sheikh Tamim said Qatar "doesn't know terrorism", and wants to contribute to achieving peace between Hamas and Israel. "Qatar has no enemies due to its flexible policy.

"Qatar has succeeded in establishing strong relations with the US and Iran simultaneously as Tehran carries influence which cannot be ignored. Escalation (of conflict) with Iran is unwise, for it is a big power that guarantees stability in the region."

The Amir of Qatar called on the need to focus on development and address poverty instead of inking arm deals "which escalate tension".

In conclusion, Sheikh Tamim stressed his country's commitment to "consolidated political stands towards just causes of the Arab peoples".

Damage control

However, officials in Qatar later denied that Sheikh Tamim made these statements, claiming that the QNA was hacked. "The Qatar News Agency website has been hacked by an unknown entity," the Government Communications Office said in a statement.

But a number of media in the GCC reported that the QNA was not hacked and that the news item was pulled down after a backlash on social media.

Criticism against the country continued, with many analysts saying this was not the first time that Qatar has "quit GCC ranks".

They also criticised the country for "backing extremist groups like the Muslims Brotherhood and affiliated organisations and Iran".

One news channel, Al Arabiya, went as far as showing "evidence" of QNA not being hacked.

(with inputs from Team KT)


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