Qatar Says Wants Positive Mutual Relations

Qatar Says Wants Positive Mutual RelationsQatar Says Wants Positive Mutual Relations

Qatar's foreign minister expressed desire for constructive relations with Iran after several Persian Gulf Arab countries and Egypt cut their diplomatic ties with Doha.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani made the remarks in an interview with RT Arabic on Saturday during a visit to Moscow, where he held talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, Press TV reported.

"As far as our relations with Iran are concerned, everyone wants positive relations with Iran. Iran is a neighbor," Sheikh Mohammed said.

The top diplomat said, "The strategic choice of all countries is to maintain dialogue with Iran", adding that "we, in the state of Qatar, support these efforts."

The Arab dispute came after the Qatari emir's reported remarks on Iran's helpful role in the region sparked a diplomatic storm with Saudi Arabia and its allies even though Doha later said its state media, which published the statements, had been hacked. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates broke off relations with Qatar and suspended all land, air and sea traffic with the tiny monarchy. In their apparent bid to secure US support and that of Israel, the countries cited Qatar's links with Hamas and accused it of supporting terrorism and Iran. 

  Legitimate Resistance

The Qatari minister stressed that Arab nations consider Gaza-based Hamas a "legitimate resistance movement" and not a "terrorist organization as viewed by the US."

Doha's stance on Hamas is in line with the interests of other Persian Gulf states, Sheikh Mohammed said of the resistance movement which has an office in the Persian Gulf emirate.

"Hamas' presence in Qatar doesn't mean there's support for Hamas in Qatar… Hamas' presence is a political representation of the Hamas movement," he said, noting, "We do not support Hamas, we support the Palestinian people."

Earlier this week, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said Qatar must end its support for Hamas and Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood to restore ties with Persian Gulf Arab countries. Sheikh Mohammed underlined the need for all disputes to be solved "through dialogue and within the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council only."

He said the underlying reason for the latest developments "must not be too deep" as Doha's ties with its Persian Gulf Arab rivals "were very friendly even two days prior to the escalation."

The Saudi-led campaign to isolate Qatar has escalated tensions and deeply divided the region. Turkey has sided with Qatar in the dispute and sent troops to the country amid reports of a possible military action by Riyadh. 

Qatar has a history of diplomatic disputes with other Persian Gulf Arab countries. In 2014, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain temporarily recalled their ambassadors from Doha over what they said was Qatar's support for the Muslim Brotherhood.


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