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Qatar: No military solution to crisis with Saudis

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Qatar's Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani gestures as he speaks to reporters in Doha, June 8, 2017. (Photo by Reuters)

Qatar's foreign minister says his country prefers diplomacy to resolve Doha's dispute with Saudi Arabia and its allies, stressing that there would never be a military solution to the crisis.

"We don't see a military solution as an option" to the problem, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani told reporters in Doha on Thursday.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates broke off relations with Qatar on Monday, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism and destabilizing the region. They also suspended all land, air and sea traffic with Qatar, ejected its diplomats and ordered Qatari citizens to leave their countries.

A few other small countries followed suit to cut or downgrade their diplomatic relations with Doha.

Sheikh Mohammed said Qatar had never experienced this type of hostility, even from an enemy.

Asked about the impact of the measures against Qatar, he underscored that Qatar could survive "forever,” saying, "We are not ready to surrender, and will never be ready to surrender, the independence of our foreign policy.”

He also stressed that calls for a change in Qatar’s policy were unacceptable, saying, “No one has the right to intervene in our foreign policy.”

The Qatari foreign minister further noted that his country has been isolated as it has been “successful and progressive” as well as “a platform for peace not terrorism.”

The row between Persian Gulf Arab states “is threatening the stability of the entire region, he added.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Sheikh Mohammed emphasized that his country was not worried about the food situation, adding Iran had expressed its readiness to help Doha secure food supplies and to designate three of its ports to Qatar.

People are seen buying essential food staples at a supermarket in Doha, Qatar, June 5, 2017. (Photo by AP)

Additionally, the top Qatari diplomat accused the UAE of exploiting its trading position as a political tool and reminded that 40 percent of UAE power depends on the natural gas coming from Qatar.

He, however, assured that Qatar respects liquefied natural gas (LNG) agreements signed with the UAE.

The minister also said there has been no change to Qatar's military deployment and no troops have been moved.

Touching on the deployment of Turkish troops to Qatar, he said the move was for the sake of the security of the whole region.

On Wednesday, Turkey's parliament approved a measure to deploy troops to a Turkish military base in Qatar 

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The Qatari foreign minister also said there would be no change to the function of a US base in the Persian Gulf state.

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