Qatar rejects claim of supporting Syrian ‘terror group’

Foreign minister says Qatar never supported al-Nusra Front, the former Syrian branch of al-Qaeda, or any armed group.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman Al Thani
Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said the future of Al Jazeera Media Network is an internal affair [Naseem Zeitoon/Reuters]

Qatar has never supported Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, the Syrian group formerly known as al-Nusra Front, or any other “terrorist group”, its foreign minister says.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said in an interview with France 24 Arabic on Thursday that Qatar had always “abided by international laws” and played a key role in the international coalition fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group.

“Qatar does not support the Nusra Front in Syria … and it does not support any terrorist organisation,” he told France 24.

The foreign minister added that he expects to receive a list of demands from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in the next two days, but stressed Qatar would not accept any “foreign dictations” and “rejected discussing any matter related to the Al Jazeera channel as it considered it an internal affair”.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and  Egypt severed diplomatic ties and cut off sea and air links with Qatar on June 5, accusing it of supporting “terrorism” – a charge Doha strongly denies.

As a result, Qatar’s only land border has been closed, it has been stopped from using the airspace of neighbouring nations and its citizens were ordered to leave the Gulf Arab countries.

The four countries also issued a list of 59 people and 12 groups with links to Qatar, alleging they have ties to “terrorism”.

The list included several prominent Qatari charities that carry out life-saving work across the Middle East and elsewhere, including in Syria, Yemen, Sudan and Palestine.

The UAE said this week the measures could last for years unless Doha accepted demands that the Arab powers plan to reveal in the coming days.

Source: Al Jazeera