We have overcome the siege and have become stronger and more independent than before, but we remain steadfast in the dialogue to resolve the Gulf crisis

In an interview with the Austrian newspaper Die Presse, Qatar's ambassador to Vienna said: We have overcome the siege and have become stronger and more independent than before, but we remain steadfast in the dialogue to resolve the Gulf crisis

Qatar's ambassador to Austria, H.E. Sheikh / Ali bin Jassim al-Thani, affirmed that Qatar has proved its ability to face the repercussions of the embargo imposed on it for more than a year and is now more powerful, immune, independent and self-reliant.
He said in an interview with the newspaper “Die Presse”, one of the leading Austrian daily newspapers, that the inauguration of the port of Hamad, one of the largest ports in the Middle East was a decisive factor in breaking the unjust siege, Qatar is importing and exporting goods and commodities directly after the rejection of the Jebel Ali Port in the UAE to receive and export goods destined for Qatar. The State of Qatar also provided the necessary needs of citizens and promoted investment in food security projects, self-sufficiency and immediate expansion in the dairy and livestock industry, and ensure the stability of the economy in the face of any shake.
The Qatari Ambassador addressed the humanitarian plight of the Qataris when the siege began. He said: "The siege was not only directed against the government, but against the people and its consequences were even the animals. The owners of farms and camels who owned farms in Saudi Arabia, along with their camels, where they were forced to travel in the hot summer heat and cut hundreds of miles on foot, which caused great harm to them, in addition to the death of many animals. These violations are confirmed images and videos were submitted to international bodies competent.
"As a result of the siege and the closure of the borders, the families have been separated, separated from each other and are stuck on both sides of the border, and it is not possible to deliver food, medicines or milk to Qatar", he said. These countries thought that Qatar would collapse because of this siege, but this did not happen because of the wisdom of its leadership and the cohesion of its people and residents on its soil. Thus, we can proudly say that the siege has not succeeded in achieving its objectives so far. Instead of the weakened the Qatari economy, the siege has strengthened it and pushed it to rely more on self and on the diversification and opening up more to the world.
Despite the great harm done to the citizens and residents of Qatar because of the unjust siege, and if Qatar retains the right to respond to the embargoes, the Qatari ambassador stressed: "We are bigger than that and we will not deal with this unfair way despite the great damage done to us, we will continue to uphold dialogue as the best way to resolve disputes.
In response to a question on whether there are prospects for a solution to the Gulf crisis, H.E. the Ambassador said: "The Emir of Kuwait continues to mediate, which the State of Qatar greatly appreciates and H.H. the Emir Tamim went to the Gulf Summit in Kuwait to reach a diplomatic solution. We are still open to dialogue, but the other side, unfortunately, is still making up excuses for refusing to sit at the table of dialogue and negotiation.
"We are one family within the GCC and we have to meet and talk. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has a tool to go back to if any member has difficulty with another" he said, but the three countries have not benefited from this and have taken another course.
On the role of Egypt in the Gulf crisis, the Qatari ambassador in Vienna explained that the crisis is a in the Gulf region, therefore the solution must be found within the GCC countries and not in Egypt.
Speaking about Qatar's relations with the United States, he said the two countries have long-standing relations and that Qatar hosts one of the most important U.S. military bases in the region. This military base plays a key role in the fight against terrorism.
As for Qatar's relations with Iran, the Qatari ambassador said: "Our relations with Iran are governed by the geographical link because they are our neighbor, but the Qatari-Iranian trade exchange rates remain the lowest within the GCC. There are more than 800 Iranian companies, along with half a million Iranians working in the UAE.
In response to another question concerning Turkish-Qatari relations and the issue of the Turkish military presence in Qatar, H.E. Ambassador said that the two countries have been bound by a bilateral agreement since 2014. This has nothing to do with the siege. We respect this agreement in accordance with international obligations as we respect the bilateral agreements that bind us to other countries. We respect the agreements between the GCC countries and the rest of the world. Our policy is based on non-interference in the internal affairs of others.
In this regard, H.E. the Ambassador has refuted the allegations of the countries of the siege and accused Qatar of supporting terrorism. He said: “Qatar has not received from the countries of the siege so far no credible evidence to prove such false accusations. If they have one proof of their allegations, the whole nations stood against us. These accusations have been fabricated to divert attention from the problems and contacts of these countries .. and  we tell them that sitting in a glass house, should not throw stones at others.
He stressed that Qatar is fighting terrorism and is part of the international alliance against ISIS supporter and Al-Nusra Front is not in Qatar, but in Syria. The description of a group as a terrorist organization or not is subject to the criteria prepared by the United Nations. The State of Qatar is keen to respect and implement these standards.
In response to a question related to Qatar's relationship with Hamas, the ambassador said that Qatar supports the gathering of the parties in order to sit at the negotiating table. We have always tried to mediate between Hamas and Fatah, as Egypt is also mediating between the two sides. “We also mediated in other cases such as Lebanon. The purpose of directing these accusations to us is to invest in the Gaza Strip. We are building hospitals, schools and roads and securing drinking water supplies”, stressing that Qatar did not pay the money to buy weapons.
H.E. the Ambassador continued: “Qatar's efforts to strengthen its military and defense capabilities are no different from what other countries in the world are doing. We are buying arms to provide the necessary protection to our citizens and residents on our land and our borders in emergency cases”.
He pointed out that the Qatari government has decided to modernize its forces and air defenses in line with the current developments in the world. However, the volume of our arms expenditure is not large according to the percentage, while Saudi Arabia is currently ranked second in the world in arms purchases.
The Qatari Ambassador to Vienna reviewed the country's preparations for hosting the 2022 World Cup, "We are proceeding according to the plan of time and construction, and the infrastructure in Qatar will be sustainable and will continue to be used after 2022," he said.
"The State of Qatar first respects the requirements of the FIFA and secondly the diplomatic norms. So far, it has not responded to the embargo policy applied against it. I think that applies to all levels. I would like to reiterate that the State of Qatar welcomes all its guests to the 2022 Qatar World Cup without any exception and will facilitate their access to the country. We will be very happy to provide all services to our guests and to achieve this success.
H.E. the Ambassador expressed thanks and gratitude of the State of Qatar for the great role played by the Austrian companies in contributing to the renaissance and development of Qatar, among them are sports and health facilities, roads and others.