Qatar FM rejects intervention in foreign policy

Qatar FM rejects intervention in foreign policy

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani added that diplomacy is still Doha's preferred option and there would never be a military solution to the problem.

A top United Arab Emirates official on Wednesday said that the unprecedented measures against Qatar aim to pressure Doha into making drastic policy changes.

Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and several other countries severed diplomatic and transport ties with Doha on Monday, accusing it of supporting Islamist militants and their arch-foe Iran - charges Qatar says are baseless.

"We are an independent country with sovereignty and we refuse any custody over Qatar", he said, speaking at the ministry of foreign affairs.

Qatar's foreign minister Thursday rejected interference in his country's foreign policy, ruling out a military solution to a crisis which has seen Riyadh and its allies cut ties with Doha.

The emirate is also home to leaders of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, the Palestinian Hamas and the Afghan Taliban.

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He also said he expected no changes in Qatar's arrangement with the United States, with the Gulf state hosting the biggest U.S. military base in the Middle East. However, the Qatari foreign minister downplayed the likelihood of military conflict.

"As for central institutions in the United States, our relations with them are extremely excellent and it is a strategic partnership in the peace process and counter terrorism", he said.

The four countries have suspended all flights to and from Qatar, pulled their ambassadors from Doha and ordered Qatari diplomats to leave.

"40 percent of UAE power depends on the natural gas of Qatar and we will respect the LNG agreements we have signed with the UAE".

The UAE's Gargash said the measures against Doha were now limited to diplomatic and economic ties, but warned that no one could project the "dynamic of a crisis". Qatar relies heavily on food imports, especially those coming over its only land border with Saudi Arabia.

Al Jazeera's Hashem Ahelbarra, reporting from Doha, said Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman was defiant and stressed that Qatar could live under embargo forever.

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