Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani holds a press conference with the US Secretary of State in the capital Doha on October 22, 2017. (AFP Photo)
DOHA, Nov. 19 (Xinhua) -- Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said Qatar has been a "frontrunner" in combating terrorism, the Qatar News Agency (QNA) reported on Sunday.
The Qatari official made the remarks during an interview with the U.S. TV channel MSNBC, the QNA report said.
"Qatar is a frontrunner in combating extremist ideologies when it establishes schools and provides high-quality education to vulnerable societies and poor countries abroad," Sheikh Mohamed said, dismissing the charges against Doha for supporting terrorism as baseless.
He pointed out that Qatar hosts the central command of the global coalition in fighting Islamic State (IS), referring to its hosting of the largest U.S. military base in the Middle East, from which the U.S. launched airstrikes against IS targets in Iraq and Syria.
On the ongoing Gulf dispute, Sheikh Mohamed said that Qatar is still committed to resolving the crisis within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) crisis, of which Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain are members, because "there is a bigger threat in the region, which is terrorism."
In early June, Saudi Arabia and three other Arab countries including the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic ties with Qatar and imposed a full blockade on the tiny rich Gulf nation, citing Doha's support to extremism and terrorism.
Qatar has strongly denied the charges, while rejecting a list of tough demands put forward in late June by the Saudi-led coalition for restoring the diplomatic ties.
But Sheikh Mohamed said that even the U.S. totally favors ending the siege imposed by the Saudi-led coalition on Qatar.
On the relations between Qatar and Iran, he said that Qatar has a "unique relationship" with Tehran, while urging Gulf states to settle their dispute with the Islamic republic through dialogue.