Trump’s criticism of Doha despite military partnership ‘strange’ – Qatar Foreign Minister

Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said in an interview to RT Arabic broadcaster that he considered US President Donald Trump’s statements against Qatar “strange” after years of military cooperation between Doha and Washington.

With Qatar hosting the major US military base in the Middle East, on Friday, Trump, nevertheless, labeled Doha as a “funder of terrorism at a very high level.” Trump added that during the Arab Islamic American Summit, which had taken place in the Saudi capital of Riyadh in May, the leaders of the Arab countries had discussed with the US president confronting Qatar over its support for terrorism.

“The relations between Qatar and the United States are of the historic nature and last in decades. After signing the agreement on the military cooperation and the agreement of granting the military benefits, Qatar paid a lot of efforts in the fight against terrorism and contributed significantly to this fight together with the allies led by the United States. It was strange to hear the statements of the US president based on the opinions of the heads of states taking special positions in relation to the state of Qatar,” Al Thani said during his visit to Moscow on Saturday.

Various US structures have noted Doha’s role in the joint US-Qatari fight against terrorism, according to Al Thani. Qatar cannot agree with the United States in all the policies, for example Washington considers the Palestinian movement Hamas as a terror group while the Arab countries regard it as a legitimate resistance movement, the diplomat added.

“Qatar does not support Hamas, but supports the Palestinian people. Our support to the Palestinians is obvious. We cooperate with the official Palestinian government. Hamas’ presence in Qatar does not mean that Qatar supports it. In Qatar, Hamas is present as a political entity,” Al Thani explained.

The interview was carried out amid the crisis in Qatar’s relations with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt which cut off ties with Doha on Monday after accusing it of supporting terrorism and destabilizing the Middle East.

On Wednesday, media reported that Riyadh set out several conditions for Qatar to normalize the bilateral relations including the expulsion of all the members of the Muslim Brotherhood terror group (outlawed in Russia) and the Palestinian Hamas movement from the country, as well as the immediate break of the diplomatic ties with Iran.

(Sputnik)