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Saudi Arabia seeking ‘regime change’ in Qatar: Foreign minister

The Qatari foreign minister says Riyadh has been pursuing “regime change” in Doha, stressing that a siege laid by Saudi Arabia and its allies on the Persian Gulf nation is meant to “bully” the nation.

In an interview with the American CNBC network on Monday, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani accused Saudi officials of “inciting the people to go and protest their government” in Qatar.

“We see (Saudi) government officials talking about regime change,” he said, adding, “We see a country that is bringing back the dark ages of tribes and putting them together in order to create a pressure on connected tribes in Qatar.”

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 bloc presented Qatar with a list of demands, among them downgrading ties with Iran, and gave it an ultimatum to comply with them or face consequences. Doha, however, refused to meet the demands and said that they were meant to force the country to surrender its sovereignty.

Elsewhere in his interview, the top Qatari diplomat said Doha tried to resolve the crisis through dialogue, but Saudi Arabia wanted to “destabilize” his country.

He also noted that the blockaders sought to “disrespect and bully” the country rather than to curtail terrorism.

“It is nothing to do with stopping financing terrorism or hate speech while they are doing the same by promoting incitement against my country, promoting a regime change in my country,” he pointed out.

Al Thani further suggested that measures taken by the Saudi-led bloc against Qatar had hurt the fight against the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.

“So there are a lot of things which undermine … the global efforts in countering … Daesh,” he said.

Qatar ‘ready for dialog’

Separately on Wednesday, Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani said during a visit to Indonesia that his country was open to talks aimed at ending the diplomatic crisis.

Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani (L) speaks as Indonesian President Joko Widodo listens during their joint press conference at the presidential palace in Bogor, West Java Province, Indonesia, October 18, 2017. (Photo by AP)

Sheikh Tamim said he had discussed the issue with Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

“We conveyed…that Qatar is ready to conduct a dialogue to solve the problem as we already know that no one will win,” he said.

He also warned that “the unfair embargo” had led to “humanitarian consequences for the people of Qatar and people of [Persian] Gulf countries.”

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