Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal remains welcome in Qatar, the Gulf state’s foreign minister said on Monday, brushing off claims that the Palestinian leader had been asked to leave.
“Khaled Meshaal is a dear guest in Qatar. He is in fact at home,” Khalid al-Attiyah said, denying that the head of Hamas’ politburo was set to relocate to Turkey.
Meshaal’s departure was a just a “rumour” aimed at pushing Qatar to “abandon its stance on the Palestinian question, and this is impossible,” the minister said, quoted by QNA state news agency.
Attiyah insisted that “Qatari authorities and brothers in Turkey never had such a plan.”
Qatar has been accused of supporting Islamist groups in the Middle East and North Africa.
It recently mended fences with Egypt after a tense standoff triggered by Qatar’s alleged support to the Muslim Brotherhood, the party of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi who was ousted by the army in July 2013.
This followed Doha’s rapprochement with Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, which returned their envoys to Qatar after months of tensions over its position on the Brotherhood and accusations of meddling in their affairs.
On Monday, Attiyah stressed Qatar and Egypt “have no disputes,” adding nonetheless that the two countries have “different opinions over some issues”.
“We respect the people of Egypt… A healthy Egypt is a need for all other Arab countries to be healthy; this is Qatar’s everlasting position,” he said.