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Qatar denies fostering Brotherhood

Doha says ties with group in Egypt merely acknowledge its place in elected government

  • By Habib Toumi, Bureau Chief
  • Published: 15:45 March 18, 2013
  • Gulf News

Manama: Qatar has rejected charges that it is siding with the Muslim Brotherhood, saying that it was dealing with the government elected to run the country and as prescribed by diplomatic protocols.

Doha has been accused in Arab media of lending special support to the Muslim Brotherhood movement, especially in Egypt.

However, Khalid Bin Mohammad Al Attiyah, state minister for foreign affairs, said that Qatar dealt officially with governments and that, in the early stages of the Egyptian revolution, Doha cooperated with the Military Council in charge of the country, local Arabic daily Al Raya reported on Monday.

The official, a panelist on ‘Rising Powers in the Region: Challenges and International Engagement’ at Al Jazeera Forum in Doha on Sunday, said that Qatar was on good terms with all political forces in Egypt.

Qatar’s engagement with the group was based on the fact that it had come to power through the ballot box, he said.

He added that the support extended by Qatar to Egypt was based on an agreement signed with the Military Council before the elections.

Qatar was among the first countries to support the Egyptian people and signed cooperation agreements with Cairo based on the belief that a strong Egypt provided strategic depth to Doha regardless of who was in power, he said.

Al Attiyah explained that, during the Libyan revolution, his country dealt with popular social groups in that country “because it was a headless revolution”, while in Egypt, it was dealing with the government running the country.

According to the official, Qatar was open to all emerging forces in the Arab world and did not side with any party against the other.

He said that Doha had a zero-problem policy with its neighbours, including Tehran. “We have good relations with our environment, including Iran despite the divergent views that the two countries have over the crisis in Syria,” he said.

Qatar did not seek to make enemies with anyone but believed in making friends and in the significance of close relations with all countries, he said.

Al Attiyah rejected claims that Qatar was not synchronising its positions with fellow Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member countries. “Can you name one position in which Qatar took a different position,” he retorted when asked about his country’s perceived non-alignment with GCC positions.

He said all GCC countries supported the Syrian revolution and the member states coordinated their position on the issue. However, he said GCC countries respected the sovereignty of each member and its right to adopt a position based on its own views.

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