France puts an end to Qatar financing accusations
PARIS - A French probe has shown that regular accusations levelled at Qatar that it finances terrorism are "not true", Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Wednesday.
"We had our intelligence services carry out precise investigations that showed that was not true," Fabius said of the lingering accusations against the tiny, oil-rich Gulf state.
The French government has come under pressure from opposition parties after the jihadist attacks in Paris to review its diplomatic ties with Qatar over its alleged financing of extremists in the Sahel, Yemen, Libya, Iraq and Syria.
US officials have accused Qatar of not doing enough to stop private fundraising for terrorist groups.
In March last year the US Treasury's under-secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, David Cohen, said Qatar had become "such a permissive terrorist financing environment, that several major Qatar-based fundraisers act as local representatives for larger terrorist fundraising networks that are based in Kuwait."
In 2013 the US designated as a terrorist an Al-Qaeda "financier and facilitator" in Qatar, Abd al-Rahman bin Umayr al-Nu'aymi, accused of transferring millions of dollars to affiliates in Iraq, Syria, Somalia, and Yemen over the past ten years.
The Qatari ambassador to Paris, Meshal Hamad Al Thani, on Tuesday denied his country supported terrorist organisations.
"The idea that Qatar finances or supports terrorists and terrorism appears to have become a generally accepted assumption in the debate on extremism in Europe," he said.
"To be clear, Qatar does not finance or support any terrorist organisation."
The ambassador said Qatar has "taken drastic measures so that no Qatari citizen can privately finance groups."