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Dialogue is the only way to save the GCC : Al Attiyah

The Peninsula - 02 August, 2017
HE Minister of State for Defense Affairs Dr Khalid bin Mohammed Al Attiyah said Monday that the GCC is not comprised only of the three countries putting the State of Qatar under siege, but includes all its members. His Excellency added that the six member countries of the council have the responsibility of rescuing whatever remains of this unique entity in the Arab World.

Dr Khalid bin Mohammed Al Attiyah said in an interview that even if the siege countries retracted their violations against the state of Qatar and the crisis ended, the public opinion will never forget that the main reason behind the fabricated crisis was the hacking of Qatar News Agency (QNA) and the publishing of fabricated statements falsely attributed to HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.

His Excellency noted that the only way to save the GCC will be through dialogue, as mentioned in the speech of HH the Emir which said that HH the Emir of the State of Kuwait is the sponsor for any diplomatic dialogue. His Excellency noted that any dialogue is subject to lifting the siege and not infringing on the State of Qatar's sovereignty.

His Excellency also stressed that the State of Qatar cannot be accused of interfering with other countries' internal affairs, noting that interference was on going in the State of Qatar but they remained patient to protect the GCC due to its importance in the West and East as it is the last pillar of stability in the Middle-East.

His Excellency said that it was difficult to explain why did the besieging countries take those measures against the State of Qatar at a time when there was plenty of meetings between leaders of the State of Qatar and Saudi Arabia. His Excellency said that they did not sense any tension following the Riyadh summit, adding that they did not realize what was being conspired against them except after the hacking of the news agency.

His Excellency stressed that the Qatari leadership relies on official sources unlike the siege countries which make decisions based on what is published in their papers.

HE Al Attiyah said that the statement made by the UAE's ambassador to the U.S. highlighted that the difference with the State of Qatar was not diplomatic, but philosophical as they seek to transform the gulf region into secular rule. His Excellency noted that these remarks proves which side is intervening in the other sides' affairs and is working on changing the beliefs of their peoples. His Excellency stressed that tampering with the beliefs of the region's people is dangerous and could push the moderate Sunni mass in the gulf towards extremism.

HE the Minister of State for Defense Affairs said that the 2013 crisis was not a result of Qatar standing in the face counter-revolutionary forces in the Arab world, as the recalling of ambassadors was done briefly after HH the Emir took office and did not have enough time to show his intentions.

On remarks made by the Foreign Minister of Bahrain accusing Qatari forces with conspiring with the Houthis, His Excellency said that the Qatari forces were never in Ma'rib as they were charged with protecting seven areas on the Southern borders of Saudi Arabia. His Excellency added that the coalition countries had already announced that it was one of the journalists of the siege countries who was responsible for leaking the coordinates after he uploaded a photo to social media of himself with UAE forces.

His Excellency noted that the only military coalition the State of Qatar is participating in is the Peninsula Shield, and being part of it does not conflict with having strategic partnerships with other countries such as Turkey or the United States or any other country. His Excellency said that no country has the right to determine which countries should Qatar deal with, as this is a sovereign issue that does not contradict with the GCC principles.

HE Al Attiyah renewed Qatar's willingness to hold a dialogue on condition of lifting the siege and avoiding the undermining of Qatar's national sovereignty, calling on Saudi Arabia to enhance Kuwaiti mediation aiming to resolve the current crisis which could affect all involved if it goes on any loner.

His Excellency said that nothing major should be expected from the Qatar given it was a victim of the hacking of its official news agency, adding that it was enough that Doha was open for dialogue and supported the mediation efforts of HH the Emir of the State of Kuwait. His Excellency noted that this crisis allowed Qatar the ability to open up to others thanks to the great relationships that HH the Emir has forged with many countries around the world, which expressed their solidarity with Qatar and expressed their willingness to help.

HE Al Attiyah said that Qatar's independent policies were nothing new, but were there since its establishment on the hands of Sheikh Jassim. His Excellency said that the preference given to products of neighboring countries was to strengthen ties and advance mutual interests. His Excellency said that the current crisis cut deep and will be difficult for the peoples to forget due to how low it has gotten. His Excellency said that the GCC will see an amendment to its statute to take into consideration the complications of international relations which require clear mechanisms for resolving crises and determining clearly what affects the GCC and what is a sovereign decision for each country.

Viatcheslav Matuzov5 August 2017