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Qatar's ambassador comments on Turkey’s position on Afrin

Qatar’s ambassador to Russia stresses every country has the right to defend its territory and integrity

MOSCOW, January 25. /TASS/. Every country has the right to defend its territory and integrity, so Doha understands Ankara’s position, Qatar’s Ambassador to Russia Fahad bin Mohammed Al Attiyah said in an interview with TASS, commenting on Turkey’s Operation Olive Branch being conducted in Syria’s Afrin.

"Every country has the right to defend its territory and integrity, it is enshrined in the UN charter. Turkey, as we have seen, has faced throughout the last couple of years a lot of terror attacks - in Istanbul, in Ankara - we have seen many of that, like many other countries. And a lot of these terror attacks have stemmed from organizations and bodies that are internationally recognized as terror organizations," the ambassador said. "And just like Russia is in Syria to maintain and bring about peace and stability, I think Turkey also believes that what it does aims at bringing peace and stability to both Syria and Turkey. We in Qatar hope that all these issues will be resolved peacefully, although sometimes one is forced to intervene to make sure that a greater threat is mitigated," he added.

"We would hope that this conflict, this intervention will end soon. However, such measures have to be sometimes taken in order to preserve lives of many others because you don’t want to see organizations that are designated as terrorist organizations grow and prosper on your borders and threaten your own security and the security of your own people. In that regard we understand the Turkish position," Al Attiyah noted.

On Syrian National Dialogue Congress

In response to a question concerning the Syrian National Dialogue Congress scheduled to be held in Russia’s Sochi, the ambassador said that "we congratulate Russia on its efforts and we support it all the way in the Astana process, trying to bring together all the factions in the Syrian conflict." "I think it is very important. I think the Syrians deserve a neutral and strong mediator to resolve this conflict and I think that Russia is playing a very constructive role in that regard," he pointed out.

"Qatar supports the gathering in Sochi of all the spectrum of opposition - be it the opposition inside Syria or the opposition outside Syria - we believe that they should engage in dialogue with no conditions in advance, they should engage with good offers of Russia and with the presence of Turkey and Iran and the UN," Qatar’s ambassador said. "We encourage everyone who received invitations to go and support Russia in its endeavor to bring peace to Syria. Qatar will do everything in its effort to make sure that she succeeds and to make sure that the negotiations in Geneva also succeed," he stressed.

Al Attiyah noted that Doha did not receive an invitation to participate in the Syrian National Dialogue Congress. However, in his words, "it is best if Sochi remains within the parties that are involved in Astana and remains within the small circle of countries that are surrounding Syria." "Otherwise, if you open the door for many countries to be involved you don’t know how things will turn out. So we are happy with the current structure of Sochi. We reaffirm our commitment to the Russian government and the Syrians that we will stand behind them until they find a peaceful solution," the ambassador concluded.

The guarantors of the Syrian ceasefire - Russia, Iran and Turkey - announced at a meeting held in Kazakhstan’s capital of Astana in December 2017 that the Syrian National Dialogue Congress would take place in Russia’s Black Sea resort of Sochi on January 29-30. Participants are expected to work out a new Syrian constitution and discuss preparations for the UN-sponsored elections. Around 1,500 representatives of various Syrian political forces are expected to participate in the event.