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Aug 04, 2015
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Qatar FM Khalid bin Mohammad Al-Attiyah: Jabhat Al-Nusra Should Split from Al-Qaeda; Opposition to Qatar's World Cup Bid Is Racist

#5051 | 06:16
Source: Al-Araby TV (Qatar)

In a wide-ranging interview with the U.K.-based Qatari Al-Araby TV channel, Qatari Foreign Minister Khalid bin Mohammad Al-Attiyah said that Jabhat Al-Nusra should split from Al-Qaeda. On the opposition to his country's bid to host the 2022 World Cup, Al-Attiyah said that it was motivated by racism. With regard to relations of the Gulf states with Iran, the Qatari foreign minister said that the U.S. should not be involved. "The easiest and most useful way is one of direct dialogue with the Iranians," he said in the August 5-6, 2015 interview.


Al-Attiyah: "We are convinced that the agreement covers the issue of nuclear weapons, but the important thing is not the agreement, but the commitment to it.






"Iran is a neighbor state, and I do not think that the US, or anyone else, should resolve the problems or alleviate the concerns held by countries in the region toward Iran, and vice versa. The easiest and most useful way is one of direct dialogue with the Iranians, who live in the same region with us, in order to reach understandings based on principles of good neighborliness, of fighting terrorism, and of refraining from interference in domestic affairs.






"The removal of the head of the (Syrian) regime is at the core of the principles of the Geneva I Conference. Who summoned all this terrorism in Syria? Who killed his own people? Our memory cannot be so short as to enable the one who summoned the terrorism to become the one fighting terrorism.






"Russia does not care who rules Syria. What Russia cares about is the preservation of the institutions. Russia fears the complete collapse of the state."






Interviewer: "What is the position of Qatar regarding the Tobruk parliament and General Khalifa Haftar? Be honest."



Al-Attiyah: "With the exception of Khalifa Haftar, we welcomed and recognized the government. We cooperate with them, and they visit us in Qatar. Khalifa Haftar lives on another planet..."



Interviewer: "On another planet?"



Al-Attiyah: "Absolutely. In March, this man announced that he would not fight the terrorist organizations in Darnah. He said this publicly. While the rebels in Libya are fighting the terrorist groups, he bombards them from the back.






"We hope that Jabhat al-Nusra will split from Al-Qaeda. I'm talking specifically about the Syrians in Jabhat Al-Nusra, because at the end of the day, they have nothing but Syria.






"The Ahrar Al-Sham movement is one of the honorable rebel groups in Syria. They defend their country and are willing to open up to others. They are ready to conduct dialogue with others. They are like the other rebel movements working to liberate the country."



Interviewer:" Do you have contacts with Ahrar Al-Sham?"



Al-Attiyah: "Yes, we do."



Interviewer:"Do you give them support?"



Al-Attiyah: "I don't want to be misunderstood. We talk with all the Syrians, with the exception of Jabhat Al-Nusra and ISIS.






"Qatar's relations with Egypt are normal ones, like any Arab country's relationship with another Arab country.






We don't consider the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt of any other Arab country... Many Muslim Brotherhood members are prime ministers and... We cannot boycott this group. This is a veteran group, and nobody can write them off. We in Qatar do not consider them to be a terrorist group, and we do not encourage others to do so.






"If we based my relations with Egypt on what some in the Egyptian press publish - it's not all of the Egyptian media, some outlets are honorable... If we based our relations on this, we would be talking about World War III. We do not attribute much importance to some of the Egyptian media."






Interviewer: "But this media does not represent itself. Perhaps they are talking on behalf of certain people. After all, Egyptian media is not free like the media of democratic countries. They represent others, and some say that they represent the real policy of the regime and the way it views Qatar."



Al-Attiyah: "What goes on between the Egyptian government and us is the opposite of what you see in the media. Therefore, we do not rely too much on what is said in the media. If we cared about what some in the Egyptian media were saying, a big crisis would develop. But we attribute no importance whatsoever to media of this kind. Let me tell you something else. Sometimes, when I am under a lot of pressure, I watch these channels just to wind down and have fun."



Interviewer: "You watch the Egyptian media for fun?"



Al-Attiyah: "Yes, for a change of atmosphere."



Interviewer:"So you think that the Egyptian media is laughable? "



Al-Attiyah: "Not all Egyptian media. Some of it.






"I believe that racism is behind the attack (on Qatar's hosting of the World Cup)."



Interviewer: "Racism?"



Al-Attiyah: "That's right. How can an Arab and Muslim country be entitled to host the World Cup? How can the countries of the Arab world, from Morocco in North Africa, to Oman, have this right? Many international soccer players cannot stomach this. Thus, their reaction was violent from the very day that Qatar won this.






"According to their mentality, the World Cup was not created for the Arab and Muslim countries, and the Arab youth do not have the right to host the World Cup. This is how they see it. For us, this World Cup will not be for Qatar alone. It will be for all the Arabs."


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