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    Terrorism in Middle East Region Still Not Eradicated - Qatari Minister

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    MUNICH (Sputnik) - Terrorism has not been completely defeated in the Middle East despite the fact that some territories previously controlled by terrorists have been freed, because the roots of the violence and extremist ideology have not yet been eradicated in the region, the Qatari Foreign Minister has stated.

    "There are territories [that have] been liberated, but ISIS* or terrorism is not defeated yet, because the ideology is still there. The people are still there. The main causes of this violence, of this crisis, are never addressed as well", Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference.

    According to the foreign minister, the fight against terrorism in the Middle East is also being hampered by the fact the countries have become increasingly divided.

    "We see the increase in regional polarisation. And this is growing day by day. Especially within the Middle East region. And this polarisation is increasing diplomatically, unfortunately", the diplomat noted.

    READ MORE: Daesh's Downfall May Result in Al-Qaeda's Resurgence, MI6 Chief Warns

    The statement comes after the US-backed Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces' (SDF) Media Centre reported that the remaining militants from the Daesh terrorist group had been surrounded in a small area of Baghouz, the last Daesh-held village in Syria.

    Earlier in January, the United States and Qatar said in a statement that the two countries had agreed to increase cooperation in areas of mutual interest, including the fight against terrorism, during US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's Middle East tour.

    Last year US President Donald Trump announced that Daesh had been defeated in Syria and said the United States would pull all its troops from that country, without specifying the deadlines for such a withdrawal.

    Doha Remains Open to Resolving Row With Gulf States

    The Qatari FM continued by saying that Doha remains open to a dialogue to resolve the crisis in relations with its Gulf neighbours.

    "Qatar remains open if there are any efforts to resolve the issue. Qatar always called for dialogue, Qatar always called the other GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] countries, the blocking state leaders to come and to sit around the table and to understand what are the reasons behind all this", Al-Thani stated.

    The statement comes amid an ongoing diplomatic and economic blockade, imposed by three nations of the six-strong GCC — the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain — and non-GCC member Egypt, on Doha in June 2017.

    READ MORE: Israel Relaunches 'Virtual Embassy' Amid Thaw With Persian Gulf States

    These nations accuse the country of supporting terrorism and interfering in their internal affairs. Qatar has refuted the allegations.

    As a result of the crisis, the 2017 GCC summit was derailed. In 2018, a summit did take place. Despite an invitation from the Saudi king, Qatari Emir Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani decided to skip the event, sending the country's state minister for foreign affairs instead.

    *Daesh (also known as ISIS/ISIL/IS) is a terrorist group banned in Russia


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