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Tue 22 Oct 2002 04:00 AM

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Sheikh Hamad says he opposes toppling Saddam

Qatar's foreign minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber indicated at the end of a three day conference on US-Muslim relations held in Qatar, he believes people in the region should change the way in which they view democratic change, irrespective of what the US thinks.

Qatari foreign minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani indicated at the end of a three day conference on US-Muslim relations held in Qatar, he believes people in the region should change the way in which they view democratic change, irrespective of what the United States thinks, reported Al Jazeera.At the same time, Al Thani said, “We disagree with the idea of regime change in Iraq.”The minister clarified his closing remarks, at the climax of the conference, and said that while relations between Qatar and the US are intimate, this did not imply that Qatar saw eye-to-eye or agreed with Washington’s policies in their entirety.Speaking about a change of regime in Iraq the foreign minister, as quoted by the Associated Press, said, it “cannot be done except through the international court of justice or international law or international resolutions. The principle of regime change, we think, is wrong.” Al Thani said he was speaking in his capacity as a Qatari citizen, was describing sentiments of the ordinary Qatari citizen, and not as foreign minister. Al Thani said that it is important the US-Qatari relationship remain transparent to the citizen without deceit, because transparency in situations like these reaps good results, reported Al Jazeera. The outspoken foreign minister appeared on Al Jazeera last Wednesday Oct. 16, and spoke about Qatar's relationship with Saudi Arabia, the implications of an attack on Iraq and the possibility of the use of the Al Odaid Qatari military air base by the 3,300 American troops stationed there.

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