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Thu 29 Aug 2013 11:09 AM

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Saudi prince ridicules Qatar as 'only 300 people and a TV station'

Comment sparks retaliation from Qatari Foreign Minister, Twitter users

Saudi prince ridicules Qatar as 'only 300 people and a TV station'

A Saudi prince allegedly ridiculed the kingdom’s Gulf neighbour Qatar, describing the country as “only 300 people and a television channel”.

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported unnamed sources who claimed to have overheard the comment being made by Prince Bandar bin Sultan Al Saud, the influential former US diplomat who is leading Saudi-US joint efforts to depose of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad.

Both Saudi Arabia and Qatar support toppling the Assad regime but are at odds over who should replace it.

Saudi Arabia has been a vocal critic of Qatar’s role in arming rebel groups in Syria, alleging the weapons have ended up in the hands of Islamist militants.

In an attempt to downplay Qatar’s increasing power in the region Prince Bandar said the Gulf state "is only 300 people. And a television channel, and this is not a country", a source familiar with the exchange told the WSJ.

The report sparked fury on Twitter, with Qataris describing the comment as “insulting".

Qatari Foreign Minister Khaled Al Attiyah retaliated with his own Twitter comment, saying each Qatari was worth a country and that his nation taught children to respect and appreciate each other.

Academics and journalists criticised the prince’s comment as "an abuse of the State of Qatar and its people".

Arabian Business digital magazine: read the latest edition online

Ali 6 years ago

The comment wasn't made to the WSJ but was reported by them as a conversation between Prince Bandar and another individual. Let's please ensure the accuracy of reporting on AB.com

Matt Williams 6 years ago

Both KSA and Qatar support the toppling of Assad, how convenient maybe they should send their missiles and armies to do this instead of the US UK & France.

Aladdin 6 years ago

Will US, UK and France pay the bill in that case??

Paul 6 years ago

The comment was a metaphor to illustrate the insignificance of Qatar in the world. Many people describe it in more potentially offensive manners.
It is a small nation and the productivity by its citizens is negligible.
The apparent GDP is due to free resources pouring out of the soil in a territory with small population.
90% of the population are expats, just passing by.

Hassan Noah 6 years ago

Comments that lead to deterioration in relations between neighboring countries should never be voiced by normal citizens, let alone leading figures who should count up to ten before they express such debatable comments. Syria and Egypt after all are making their impact on local politics.

Shafiqur Rahman 6 years ago

Saudi Prince didn't say that word (300 people and A television) for insulting to Qatar, I think he just joke frankly with some one individual it is not an issue , this nothing to get mind.

I am not with them those who are going to fight against Syria, if they like to solve this problem then let them to bring that opposition leader and government in one table and discuss the matter what is the problem and how can solve it.

what we are seeing in the gulf and other country, any one come against government and try to move him it is not logic, the government should finish his time properly then people don't like him let ask election (vote) give the answer to the government by vote and remove.

Khalid 6 years ago

Royal Highness Prince Bandar is right and sincerity in his words.

Sebastian 6 years ago

At least Qatar has that is internationally acclaimed, which can't be said about KSA with some many more people.

RAH 6 years ago

Though this reporter does have many reporting mistakes and I have written to complain on her lack of inaccurate/ill-researched facts being published, but I must mention that this time you are being unfair.

She did write "The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported unnamed sources who claimed to have overheard the comment…", this does not indicate that the comment was made to WSJ direct as you seem to understand it, Ali. Her statement does tell us that the WSJ is quoting from third persons who overhead this comment and reported it.

Sebastian 6 years ago

And like UAE is such a big country with only 16.6% of the population being Emirati!!! Furthermore, I'd like to notice that the UAE's GDP also "is due to free resources pouring out of the soil in a territory with small population" and the rest is achieved by financial & construction bubble!