Qatar Emir: We Won’t Shut Down Al-Jazeera

Al Jazeera newsroom [Joshua Debner/Flickr]

Al Jazeera newsroom 

We don’t accept any interference in Qatar’s sovereignty, Qatari Emir, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, has warned.

“Our sovereignty is a red line. We don’t accept anybody interfering [with] our sovereignty,” Al-Thani said.

Speaking in an interview with the 60 Minutes programme aired on America’s CBS Channel that Qatar would not close down the Doha-bases Al-Jazeera television network. “We’re not going to shut down Al Jazeera,” he reiterated.

On the Qatari-Iranian relations, Al-Thani explained to the US broadcaster, Charlie Rose, that “Iran is our neighbour.”

“We have lots of differences and foreign policies with Iran, more than them [blockade countries],” the Qatari emir stressed, noting that “when those countries, our brothers, blocked everything. Blocked medicine, blocked food, the only way for us to provide food and medicine for our people was through Iran.”

The real reason for the blockade, he added, is that “they don’t like our independence…we want freedom of speech for the region…they think that this is a threat to them.”

On the efforts to resolve the Gulf crisis, the emir pointed out that he is more than willing to sit down with his antagonists.

“Nothing is going to be above our dignity, our sovereignty. But we want it to end. I always say that,” he told Rose, stressing “if they going to walk one meter toward me, I’m willing to walk 10,000 miles towards them.”

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar in early June, accusing it of supporting terrorism, which Doha denies.

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