Doha says its position on countering terrorism is stronger than many of the signatories of joint statement
Qatar on Friday dismissed as “baseless” a terrorism blacklist published by Saudi Arabia and its allies, which linked individuals and organizations in Doha to support for Islamist militant groups.
The emirate was responding just hours after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain published a list of 59 people and entities linked to “terrorism.”
“The recent joint statement issued by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the U.A.E. regarding a ‘terror finance watch list’ once again reinforces baseless allegations that hold no foundation in fact,” Qatar’s government said in a statement.
Qatar does not support terrorist groups, it stressed, pointing out that “our position on countering terrorism is stronger than many of the signatories of the joint statement—a fact that has been conveniently ignored by the authors.” Included on the list were Doha-based Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Yusuf al-Qaradawi and Qatari-funded charities.
The list and response add to the diplomatic and political tensions in the Gulf that have erupted since Saudi Arabia and its allies severed ties with Qatar over its alleged support for extremism.
Qatar has vehemently denied the claims and on Thursday its foreign minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, said his country would not “surrender.”
In a bid to drum up support for his country with the crisis showing no signs of abating, the minister made a surprise visit Friday to Germany where he pledged to pursue a diplomatic path out of the deadlock.
The actions taken by Saudi Arabia and its allies amounted to “a clear breach of the international law and won’t result in a positive impact on the region but will have a negative one,” he said, also hitting out at the terrorism blacklist. “There is a continuous escalation from these countries … but our strategic options are still diplomacy and dialogue,” added Sheikh Mohammed, after holding talks with German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel. “There are ongoing efforts from friendly countries to contain the crisis and lift the unjust blockade on Qatar and start negotiations,” added the Qatari minister, who is traveling to Moscow on Saturday to meet his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.
Kuwait has taken on the mediator role in the crisis, and French President Emmanuel Macron has also reached out to Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Iran in a bid to kick off talks. Russian President Vladimir Putin has also spoken to Qatar’s emir over the crisis.
Gabriel stressed that “this is the hour of diplomacy” as he vowed to “do everything, along with our European friends, to ensure that this conflict does not further escalate.”