Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim demanded in an interview with CBS television program 60 Minutes’ Charlie Rose.
Charlie asked Tamim if he believes the blockading countries want regime change Qatar.
Sheikh Tamim replied, “Yes. They want, they want a regime change. It’s… so obvious. History as well tells us, teaches us they tried to do that before, in 1996 after my father became the emir.”
“No, we’re not gonna shut down Al Jazeera. Our sovereignty is a red line. We don’t accept anybody interfering our sovereignty.”
Charlie asked Tamim if he plans to shut down Doha based Al Jazeera to meet the demands by the blockading countries.
Tamim replied, “No, we’re not gonna shut down Al Jazeera.” “Our sovereignty is a red line. We don’t accept anybody interfering our sovereignty,” Tamim added.
On the same note, Tamim asked Charlie, “When you tell me to close a channel like Al Jazeera, history will write one day in 50, 60 or 70 years how it changed the whole idea of free speech in the region.”
Mr. Tamim demanded that the blockade came as a shock to him. “It was a shock because a few weeks before that, we were meeting, all of us together, in one room, including President Trump… Nobody told me anything.”
Sheikh Tamim said the blockading countries don’t like Qatar’s independence and non-conformist policies. “They don’t like our independence, the way how we are thinking, and our vision for the region. We want freedom of speech for the people of the region. And they’re not happy with that. And so they think that this is a threat to them.”
Emir Tamim said his country has much difference with Iran. But he remembered Iran’s contribution when the blockading countries shut their borders.
“When those countries, our brothers, blocked everything. Blocked medicine, blocked food, the only way for us to provide food and medicine for our people was through Iran. And when they talk about terrorism, absolutely not. We do not support terrorism.”
Sheikh Tamim defended his country on hosting Taliban. The reason why they came here, it’s not because we asked them to come here, because other people (United States) wanted to have dialogue so they asked us if we can host them here and have the dialogue. So we hosted them here. This is the reason why they’re here.
Sheikh said he is afraid “if anything happens, if any military act happens, this region’ll be in chaos.”
He praised Qatari people for the way they reacted after 5th of June blockade. “Qatar after the 5th of June is not like Qatar before. We’re proud of what we were. We’re proud of our history. But after the 5th of June, it’s different. We are stronger.”
Emir Sheikh Tamim’s comments drew immediate criticism early Sunday from Emirati Minister of State for International Affairs Anwar Gargash.
“To go to the Western media and attack Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates at this point is desperate,” Gargash wrote on Twitter. Qatar “should accept its isolation without sniveling and do what it must.”