Thursday, February 7, 2008

Qatar PM sues Kuwaiti paper which criticized his ties to Israel

"Qatar's prime minister has sued a Kuwaiti daily and one of its columnists for damaging his reputation because of a series of editorials criticizing his policy of opening ties with Israel, his lawyer said Thursday.

Sheik Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani, who is also Qatar's foreign minister, has led his tiny natural gas-rich nation's policy of developing contacts with Israel and is believed to be behind the tiny emirate's policy of carving out a prominent foreign role for itself.

The columns by writer Fouad al-Hashem in the independent Kuwaiti daily al-Watan criticize Sheik Hamad for his ties to Israel, including claims he is financing the development of an Israeli diabetes drug. Qatar is home to Israel's only diplomatic mission in the Gulf, a trade mission. In January 2007, then Israeli deputy prime minister Shimon Peres visited Qatar and met with its ruler.

Al-Hashem said the female anchor's welcome for Peres on Qatar's al-Jazeera satellite news channel was so effusive that one would have thought he was her long-lost husband stranded on an island before a helicopter owned by Sheik Hamad rescued him......."

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