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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 14 December 2018

Member of Qatari royal family wants to 'purify' country

Sheikh Sultan, 33, said that his country was under illegitimate rule and must stop funding extremism

Sheikh Sultan, 33, said that Qatar was under illegitimate rule and must stop funding extremism. Naseem Zeitoon / Reuters
Sheikh Sultan, 33, said that Qatar was under illegitimate rule and must stop funding extremism. Naseem Zeitoon / Reuters

Sheikh Sultan bin Suhaim, a member of the Qatari royal family, said that he intends to rescue his country before “it plunges into chaos”.

“We are the founders [of Qatar], and we will purify it from its squalor,” he said during a meeting between the Bani Hajjer and Al Qahtaan tribes in east of Saudi Arabia near the border with Qatar. Members of the two groups live across the Gulf region.

Sheikh Sultan, 33, a lesser-known member of the Qatari ruling family, said that his country was under illegitimate rule and must stop funding extremism.

“We bear the responsibility to rescue Qatar,” he said at the meeting, which was meant to honour Shafi bin Nasser Al Hajjer, chief of the Bani Hajjer tribe, who had his and his family’s Qatari citizenship revoked.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt cut all diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar on June 5 over its support of extremists and ties to arch-foe Iran.

Sheikh Sultan — who is believed to be residing in Saudi Arabia — praised King Salman of Saudi Arabia and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for their efforts to confront Doha, who is accused of interfering in the internal affairs of other Arab countries.

In October, Qatari authorities seized Sheikh Sultan’s palace and his assets after he expressed support for Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali — another member of the Qatari royal family who called on the Qatar leadership to adhere to the demands of the Arab quartet to resolve the crisis. Sheikh Abdullah’s assets were frozen on Saturday.

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“We would be traitors if we allowed our country to be swept away by illegitimate rulers,” said Sheikh Sultan. “I stand with you now.

“We will return to our land, with our heads held up high, and those in it will leave.”

Sheikh Sultan’s father was the brother of the former Qatari Emir, Sheikh Khalifah bin Hamad, who was removed from office in a bloodless coup by the father of the current Emir, Sheikh Hamad Al Thani.

His father also served as the first foreign minister in the 1970s.