Sending Arab troops to Syria would complicate situation: Qatar

Paris—Sending Arab troops to Syria would complicate the situation there affirmed H E Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani. 

In an interview with France 24 TV Channel, on the sidelines of the Paris Conference to Combat Terror Financing, held in the French capital, Paris, the Deputy Prime Minister said : “We want to have a political solution that guarantees a political transition and the accountability of war criminals and also guarantees the return of stability to Syria.”

On the US President Donald Trump’s call for replacing the US forces in Syria with Arab forces, he said that “Any step does not guarantee the rights of the Syrian people, it will not change the equation, and the State of Qatar calls for a comprehensive policy to find a solution to stop the suffering of the Syrian people. During our recent visit to the United States, we were talking about ideas that would ensure that extremist organizations would not return, including the presence of additional forces and a greater partnership with US forces. We in Qatar have clarified our policy towards Syria and told the United States that any decision towards Syria must be within the framework of a comprehensive solution to the Syrian crisis.”

On the other hand, the minister said that the statement by Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubair, in which he called on Qatar to pay for US forces presence in Syria and to send its troops there “is not worthy of a response.”

He expressed his rejection of attempts to assume stupidity of the Arab public opinion in this way stressing that “Arab consciousness is much greater than what they imagine.” 

Commenting on the US president’s call on “his rich allies in the region to pay for the protection of the United States,” the minister said, “US-Qatari relations are based on partnerships, and any agreement within the framework of collective international action, Qatar will participate as part of this international group. Qatar is a key partner in the International Coalition Against ISIS and hosts the headquarters of this alliance, “asserting that” Qatar’s partnership in the fight against terrorism will continue. “

On the repercussions of the recent changes in the US administration on Washington’s relations with Doha, HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said, “Our relationship with the United States is strategic and partnership-based, and the relationship between Qatari institutions and their US counterparts is good. The change of the presidency of these institutions is a US internal affair, and the policy of countries does not change because of people, especially in the United States. “

The minister said that the dismissal of Rex Tillerson from the US State Department and the appointment of Mike Pompeo as his successor is no different, “our relations with the Central Intelligence Agency, which Pompeo headed was excellent, so “we have no difference between Tillerson or Pompeo, and we look forward to working with him.”

On HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al-Thani attending the wedding of the son of Abdulrahman Al Nuaimi, who is listed on the US and European Terrorism List and the criticisms of Qatar in this regard, the Deputy Prime Minister said that Qatar is fully committed to all international resolutions on counterterrorism and applies all measures imposed on all those listed on the United Nations lists of terrorism, adding that Qatar is one of the first countries to have signed a partnership agreement in the field of combating terrorism, but Qatar is a state of law and respects the separation of powers and the judiciary is the one who rules any criminal if involved in the financing of terrorism.

He added that HE Prime Minister’s attendance to the wedding of the son of Al Nuaimi is because the son of Al Nuaimi is an employee of the Qatari government, and attending such a social event in a small community like the Qatari community does not cause any embarrassment to HE the Prime Minister.

On the future of the Gulf crisis, the Deputy Prime Minister said that there have been efforts of mediation by HH the Amir of Kuwait and the US efforts in support of Kuwaits mediation, noting that there has been momentum in the past two weeks, after the visit of HH the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani to the United States, especially from the US president, and seeking to bring the GCC back to normal and to have a dialogue on the problems the GCC is having. He explained that no practical steps had been taken so far, but Qatar has welcomed these efforts and is ready to sit at the dialogue table.

He further pointed out that the other parties are still living with this crisis and do not want to reach a solution as if the stability of the region does not concern them, and the policies that Qatar sees from their side continue to escalate reaching very low levels.

On whether the ball is in the court of Qatar because it has not waived or accepted the demands, he asked, “how is the ball in the court of Qatar, which was subjected to a deliberate attack by four states and a crime of piracy, in addition to the arbitrary measures against it and against its people, while Qatar did not take any actions against these countries.” He added that Qatar has asked for dialogue to understand the concerns these countries have, and every time there is an opportunity to bring together the various parties for dialogue, they lag behind.

On possibility of a strong Iranian reaction to the possible US withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear agreement, he said that it is possible that this agreement did not address all the concerns of Western countries, but its presence is very important and Qatar does not want the region to enter a nuclear arms race.

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