• This file picture shows construction at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Reuters)
    This file picture shows construction at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Reuters)

Qatar has strongly criticized recent remarks by a top Emirati security official that the ongoing Saudi-led diplomatic crisis targeting the energy-rich Persian Gulf kingdom could be resolved if Doha gives up hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

According to Press TV, Qatar's Government Communications Office said in a statement on Wednesday that the attempt by Dubai Security Chief Lieutenant General Dhahi Khalfan to link the quadrennial games to the dispute shows that the political and economic boycott of Doha “is founded on petty jealousy, not real concerns.”

“This demand is a clear attempt to undermine our independence. The World Cup, like our sovereignty, is not up for discussion or negotiation,” it added.

The statement also urged Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to rally behind the “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us all” and stop the blockade.

“We've always taken the simple position that sport is elevated from conflict and that the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar will be a platform to bring people together, separate from any political ideology,” the statement said.

“We also see the tournament as a powerful tool for Qatar and the region to counter extremism and reject terrorism,” it pointed out.

Qatari authorities say their efforts at building sports facilities and infrastructure for the 2022 FIFA World Cup remain on track.

“Even today, when we are faced with the current illegal blockade, we stand resolute that everybody will be welcome when the first ball is kicked on November 21, 2022,” Qatar's World Cup supreme committee said.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain all cut off diplomatic ties with Qatar on June 5, after officially accusing it of “sponsoring terrorism.”

The administration of Saudi-backed and resigned Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, Libya, the Maldives, Djibouti, Senegal and the Comoros later joined the camp in ending diplomatic ties. Jordan downgraded its diplomatic relations as well.

Qatar's Foreign Ministry later announced that the decisions to cut diplomatic ties were unjustified and based on false claims and assumptions.

ME

Oct 12, 2017 07:11 UTC
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