German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Prime Minister of Qatar Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani hold a press conference at the Federal Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, 16 April 2013. Image Credit: EPA

Berlin: Qatar on Tuesday defended its policy of supplying weapons and money to several revolts in the Arab world, with Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani also denying that his aim is to bring the Muslim Brotherhood to power in Egypt or Libya.

The premier was speaking after a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin.

“Don’t be alarmed. We are very conscious about our actions. We only support the will of the people. We don’t interfere in the governance of states,” Shaikh Hamad said at a joint news conference with Merkel.

He argued that advances by Islamists in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya were the result of free elections, not Qatar’s doing.

“Qatar supports the desires of each people. We know that in Tunisia, the Muslim Brotherhood came to power through elections; in Egypt, through elections. In Libya, there were elections for the transitional phase.

“We deal with regions, not with particular persons or particular groups,” he said.

Shaikh Hamad said his country was supporting the Syrian rebels after becoming frustrated with President Bashar Al Assad’s refusal to bring about change.

Merkel said the two leaders had discussed possible solutions to the Syrian conflict. She said Germany would not supply arms to the Syrian rebels, but would not block talks in the European Union about such aid. Britain and France advocate sending weapons.

“If there are to be further talks, Germany is willing to conduct such talks, without infringing on our own position that we will not be able to supply weapons ourselves,” she said.

Berlin wants a political, rather than a military solution to the Syrian crisis.

“We are convinced that Assad has lost his legitimacy, and that this is all about supporting the wishes of the Syrian people and thus supporting the peaceful forces of the opposition,” Merkel said.

The chancellor also praised Qatar’s financial aid to Egypt since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak.

“We want Egypt to get onto a sensible path economically. I would like to thank Qatar for its multiple commitments,” she said.