In a diplomatic tête-à-tête between Qatar and the United States, Qatar expressed its willingness to reconsider the presence of Hamas within its borders. This openness hinges on the resolution of an ongoing crisis involving the Palestinian terror group, aiming to secure the freedom of numerous hostages taken to Gaza. A senior US official divulged this information on a Friday, shedding light on discussions that transpired during a meeting in Doha earlier in the month. At this gathering, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken engaged in discourse with Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.
The news, initially disclosed by the Washington Post, underlines the collaborative efforts between Qatar and the US in mediating talks with Hamas and Israeli authorities. These discussions are geared towards the release of over 200 hostages seized during a cross-border attack orchestrated by the Palestinian group on October 7.
Qatar, an affluent nation bolstered by its gas production, has played a pivotal role in facilitating dialogue with both Israel and Hamas, leading to the liberation of four hostages. Qatar’s Prime Minister, in a statement made on Wednesday, expressed optimism about the progress of negotiations, hinting at a potential breakthrough in the near future.
Since 2012, Doha has served as the base for Hamas’ political office, housing prominent figures such as Ismail Haniyeh and former leader Khaled Meshaal. During a joint press conference with Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman al-Thani on October 14, Secretary Blinken emphasized that business cannot proceed as usual with Hamas. When questioned about the possibility of shutting down Hamas’ political office, Sheikh Mohammed clarified that its purpose was to foster communication and tranquility in the region, not to incite conflict. He stressed the importance of maintaining open lines of communication.