Qatari Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani has warned that any military action against the Persian Gulf country will plunge the region into chaos as a diplomatic standoff continues between Doha and a Saudi-led group of nations.
"I'm fearful that if anything happens, any military act happens, this region will be in chaos," Sheikh Tamim said in an interview with the American television network CBS that will be broadcast Sunday night.
He also noted that US President Donald Trump had offered to host a meeting among warring sides in the Persian Gulf crisis at Camp David, but the Saudi-led bloc had not responded to the proposal.
Trump had “suggested that we come and I told him straightaway, 'Mr. President, we are very ready, I've been asking for dialog all along. It was supposed to be very soon this meeting, but I don't have any response [from the other countries],” the Qatari emir said.
Back in June, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, and the UAE imposed a trade and diplomatic embargo on Qatar, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism, an allegation strongly denied by Doha.
The Saudi-led quartet presented Qatar with a list of demands and gave it an ultimatum to comply with them or face consequences. The demands included closing the Al Jazeera broadcaster, removing Turkish troops from Qatar’s soil, scaling back cooperation with Iran, and ending ties with Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood movement.
Doha, however, refused to meet the demands and denounced them as unreasonable.
Earlier this month, Qatar's former deputy prime minister Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah told the Spanish daily ABC that the UAE had planned a military invasion of Qatar with thousands of US-trained mercenaries, but failed to secure Washington’s support.
Elsewhere in his interview, Sheikh Tamim stressed that the blockade imposed on Qatar had targeted its “independence.”
Asked whether Qatar will bend to the demands from the Saudi-led bloc, he said, "Our sovereignty is a red line. We don't accept anybody interfering [with] our sovereignty.”
Touching on Doha’s relations with Tehran, the Qatari emir emphasized that despite differences, "Iran is our neighbor … the only way for us to provide food and medicine for our people was through Iran” during the Saudi-led siege.
Iran has taken a neutral stance in the dispute but has sent food supplies to Qatar on humanitarian grounds amid the Saudi-led siege of the country. It has also allowed Qatar’s national carrier to use its airspace.