Madrid – Saudi Ambassador to Spain Prince Mansour bin Khalid bin Farhan stressed that it was not surprising that the Kingdom, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt severed their diplomatic ties with Qatar over its funding and support of terrorism.
He said in an interview with Spain’s El Mondo newspaper: “The Qatari government seeks to project a perfect image of itself as a backer of liberties, democracy and free media in order to cover up its dangerous policy and behavior that is harmful to the security of the peoples of the region and the world.”
Terrorism is a common global threat and its defeat demands the cooperation of all world countries, he continued.
The financing of extremist groups is still a danger and it must be stopped. This is reflected in the demands of world governments to Qatar to seriously commit to combating terrorism and stopping the funding of such groups, said the ambassador.
Prince Mansour bin Farhan stressed that the four countries had for years urged Doha to change its hostile policy against its neighbors and to stop harboring and supporting the leaderships of radical organizations.
“When Qatar did not respond to these demands, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain withdrew their ambassadors from Doha. Qatar then altered its stance and started to comply with the demands and its Emir himself signed the 2013 Riyadh Declaration,” he added.
Qatar did not however commit to its pledges.
The 13-point list of demands that Riyadh, Abu Dhabi, Manama and Cairo made to Doha were not “impossible as Qatar claims,” said the ambassador.
The majority of these points were part of the Riyadh agreement, he explained.
Further signs of Qatar’s veering away from the Arab fold was demonstrated during the May Arab-Islamic-US summit, noted Prince Mansour bin Farhan.
He stated that US President Donald Trump and the leaders of 55 Muslim countries pledged to firmly stand against terrorism, its backers and financiers, except for Qatar.
Doha attended the Riyadh-hosted conference, but did not commit to its agreements, he added. This stance justifies the four Arab countries’ decision to cut diplomatic ties with it.
Seeking diplomacy and dialogue to resolve the dispute stems from the keenness on ties with Qatar and its brotherly people, who are part of the Arab Gulf social fabric, remarked the Saudi official.
He therefore expressed his disappointment that Doha had rejected the demands of the four Arab countries, which demonstrates its insistence to commit to its current negative approach.
On Doha’s claims that it defends liberties, the ambassador said that financing media that spreads hate, extremism and incitement to violence does not fall under media freedom.
Such practices contradict international norms, said the ambassador.
He noted that al-Jazeera television hosted slain al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden and promoted his extremist ideology. It also hosted other extremist leaders and portrayed them as heroes, including Syria’s al-Nusra Front leader.
A number of its journalists even confirmed that the satellite channel glorifies extremists, said Prince Mansour bin Farhan.