Al Awad Image Credit: Al Marsad

Dubai: Qatar’s continued support for terrorism and financing of terror groups have turned into a threat to the security and stability to countries in the Gulf region and the Arab world, Saudi Arabia’s Information Minister Awad Al Awad has said.

He said Doha has been engaged for years in the tactics of sabotage and collusion with terrorist organisations and support for extremist and terrorist groups such as Al Qaida, the Muslim Brotherhood and Hezbollah.

“Doha has been exposed and the world knows that it supports individual and state terrorism,” he said in an interview with an Italian newspaper. “However, it today insists on its position by rejecting all diplomatic means to resolve this crisis with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. It must change its direction because, with its current policies, it can no longer continue to be part of the group supporting security, stability and peaceful coexistence.”

However, Al Awad said the Quartet would continue its efforts to persuade Qatar to return to the Gulf and contribute to the security and stability of the region.

The minister stressed the need to appreciate that Al Jazeera pan-Arab channel could not be equated with media freedom.

“Al Jazeera does not at all represent freedom of the press. It is a political subversion project aimed at crushing security and destroying stability. It is the marketing arm of Qatar’s hostile agenda that uses defamation and fabrication in an evasive approach and legitimises terror groups. The channel is openly hostile and derides us even in the slightest detail,” he said, quoted by Saudi news site Al Marsad on Monday.

Al Jazeera is an evil machine for spreading fake news and it has been used by terror groups, including Al Qaida, Daesh and Hezbollah, he added.

Al Awad said that Saudi Arabia would continue to fight terrorism relentlessly.

“Terrorism is our arch enemy, and we were its first victims. We have been since 1996 following Al Khobar Tower bombing very strict about combating it. Terrorist attacks have killed hundreds in the kingdom. Saudi Arabia applies the death penalty against terrorists. We reject the claim that we support religious violence and extremism and we ask those who make such claims to show the evidence. Anyone who can president proof against terrorists will be truly helping us to apply the law against them.”