Qatar said Thursday it will not “surrender” and rejected any interference in its foreign policy, defying its Gulf neighbours in an escalating dispute over its alleged support for extremists.
In an interview with AFP, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said calls for a change in Qatari policy from Saudi Arabia and its allies, which cut diplomatic ties with Doha this week, were unacceptable.
“No one has the right to intervene in our foreign policy,” Sheikh Mohammed said.
He also rejected “a military solution as an option” to resolving the crisis, and said Qatar could survive “forever” despite the measures taken against it.
“We are not ready to surrender, and will never be ready to surrender the independence of our foreign policy,” he told reporters later, adding: “No one will break us.”
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain led a string of countries that this week cut ties with Qatar over what they say is the emirate’s financing of extremist groups and its ties to Iran, Saudi Arabia’s regional arch-rival.
On Thursday the four countries issued a list of individuals and entities they said had “terrorist” links to Qatar, in their first joint statement since severing ties with Doha.
The group said the list shows Qatar “announces fighting terrorism on one hand and finances and supports and hosts different terrorist organisations on the other hand.”
But the document contains at least two names already designated internationally as terrorist financiers, and against whom Qatar took action, according to a previous US Department of State report.
Qatar strongly denied the earlier allegations and expressed a willingness to engage in talks to resolve the crisis.
The Arab countries closed air, sea and land links with Qatar, barred the emirate’s planes from their airspace and ordered Qatari citizens out within 14 days.topics from