Terming the dialogue only way to resolve crisis, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Defence
H E Dr Khlaid bin Mohamed Al Attiyah has said that Qatar has successfully diffused intentions of siege countries to intervene militarily.
Talking to Washington Post, the Deputy Prime Minister said: “We have diffused their intention. But at the beginning of the crisis they had this intention. They have tried everything. They tried to provoke the tribes. They used mosques against us. Then they tried to get some puppets to bring in and replace our leaders.”
Al Attiyah said that the beginning (of current crisis) was an ambush. “The only thing is, I don’t think they calculated right. They thought they could strike hard and bend the Qatari people. But the people showed solidarity and became more resilient. We enhanced our bilateral relations all over the world.”
On 13 demands presented by the blockading countries, the Deputy Prime Minister said that out of those demands, not a single one was genuine. “We are the only country who signed a memorandum of understanding with the United States to counter terrorism. We have teams from all concerned departments working together [with the United States] almost on weekly basis.”
The Minister said that the coalition against terror was facing problems due to siege of Qatar.
“[The coalition and NATO] are using our strategic airlifts. But we are facing problems, because the neighbours are disturbing the operation. The airways are blocked. The UAE and Saudi Arabia are members of the coalition. But with their embargo, they are disturbing the operation.”
To a question about how can the dispute be resolved, the Defence Minister said that the only way to resolve such a dispute is dialogue, which we have been calling for since the beginning of the crisis. “They want to come with preconditions. We refuse the idea of preconditions.”
When asked had President Trump offered to mediate, he said: “Yes, he is trying. And I hear he will invite the GCC soon to Washington.”
On conversation with Defence Secretary Mattis, he said “the headline is that we have plans to take our military-to-military cooperation to another level. We are going to expand Al Udeid and build housing and increase the capacity.” He said that Qatar will have the F-15s in a couple of years.
To another question about relations with Iran due to sharing of gas field, he said: “We have to have friendly relations with everyone. We are responsible for the supply of [an enormous amount] of the world’s energy. We have to have a smooth flow of energy, and that means we have to eliminate having enemies.”