Qatar will not let outside interests dictate its policies, its foreign minister has said.
Speaking to media in Doha yesterday, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said Qatar was being isolated “because we are successful and progressive.”
According to the BBC, he added:
“We are a platform for peace, not terrorism. This dispute is threatening the stability of the entire region.
We are not ready to surrender, and will never be ready to surrender, the independence of our foreign policy.”
Crisis is on
It’s been a rough week for Qatar and its leaders, who saw some of their closest allies turn against them, including Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain.
The three nations have cut off diplomatic and economic ties, and closed land, air and sea borders to Qatar, as well as ordered the departure of its citizens.
Officials in Doha said they were surprised by the recent turn of events.
However, they add that they had been preparing for this since 2014, after a smaller Gulf dispute erupted.
Mediation efforts are afoot, and Qatar has said it welcomes dialogue to resolve the crisis.
“There cannot ever be a military solution to this problem,” Al Jazeera quoted the FM as saying.
Authorities are also working hard to ensure things appear as normal as possible for residents in Qatar.
For example, Garangao celebrations are going on as planned this weekend.
— Visit Qatar (@VisitQatar) June 6, 2017
And the Qatar Tourism Authority said yesterday that its upcoming two-month summer festival will not be canceled or shortened, even though most of its visitors usually come from the Gulf.
Qatari authorities have even instructed residents to honor Islamic values and refrain “from directing any kind of abuses to other countries, their leaders or their peoples,” QNA reports.
But recent events have dramatically upended the lives of thousands of people, according to Qatar’s National Human Rights Committee (NHRC).
Speaking yesterday, officials said these include university students studying in the Gulf and mixed Khaleeji families who have been torn apart by orders to leave their host countries.
Many Qataris, Saudis, Bahrainis and Emiratis are also grappling with lost jobs and property because they have to exit their current nation of residence, the NHRC said.
Meanwhile, Qatar remains on high alert as pressure builds from its neighbors.
Some residents have noted an increased police presence at local hotspots like Souq Waqif.
And according to the Associated Press, Qatar’s Emir has declined to leave the country while the “blockade” continues.
DOHA, Qatar (AP) – Qatar diplomat tells @AP emir won't leave while country 'in blockade,' can't attend Trump mediation at White House
— Josh Lederman (@JoshNBCNews) June 8, 2017
This is despite an invitation from US President Donald Trump to host mediation talks at the White House.
Adding to the country’s woes is that hackers have once again taken aim at Qatar channels.
Qatar TV was hacked and taken offline yesterday, while Al Jazeera reported that several attempts to attack the network had been made.