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Qatar PM says his country doesn’t ‘have a war with Israel’

August 27, 2023 at 1:54 pm

Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani. [Russian Foreign Ministry Press – Anadolu Agency]

Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani has stated that his country does not “have a war with Israel,” and reiterated Doha’s support for the Saudi-led 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, which offered recognition of Israel in return for Palestinian statehood and withdrawal from Arab lands.

The prime minister made the comments on Friday as a speaker at a conference of the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) in Singapore, when asked during a Q and A session about the possibility of normalised relations between Saudi Arabia and the occupation state.

“We didn’t hear anything officially about any talks on Saudi-Israel, but at the end of the day, Qatar maintains the same position, that foreign policy decisions of each member states of the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] — it’s based on their own assessment, on their own evaluation,” he said. Currently, the UAE and Bahrain are the only GCC member states to have normalised relations with Tel Aviv, as part of the 2020 Abraham Accords.

Thani continued: “At the end of the day, we don’t have a war with Israel, the Israelis have an occupation over the Palestinians,” he added. “So any agreement with the Israelis doesn’t represent peace, the peace (could be) represented only between them and the Palestinians.”

Despite not having formal relations with Israel, Qatar as hosts of last year’s FIFA World Cup came to an agreement in allowing Israel fans to attend the tournament, and launched the first-ever direct charter flights from Tel Aviv to Doha.

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