Qatar Responds To Steny Hoyer’s Criticism Of Its Mediator Role In Gaza Cease-Fire Talks

“Blaming and threatening the mediator is not constructive,” the Embassy of Qatar in Washington, D.C., said in a statement.

The Embassy of Qatar in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday criticized Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) for saying the U.S. should “reevaluate its relationship” with the country if the Hamas militant group keeps resisting entering into a temporary cease-fire agreement with Israel, adding that “blaming and threatening the mediator is not constructive.”

Hoyer said Hamas is using Qatar, which hosts the group’s leadership and has previously helped mediate talks between the two sides along with the U.S. and Egypt, “to exact greater concessions from Israel.”

“Instead, Qatar needs to make it clear to Hamas that there will be repercussions if it continues to block progress toward releasing the hostages and establishing a temporary cease-fire,” Hoyer said in a statement Monday. “Consequences ought to include cutting off funding to Hamas or refusing to grant Hamas’ leaders refuge in Doha.”

He added: “If Qatar fails to apply this pressure, the United States must reevaluate its relationship with Qatar.”

The Embassy of Qatar in the U.S. issued a statement in response to Hoyer’s words, noting that while the lack of progress on a deal can be frustrating, the responsibility for that lies only with Israel and Hamas.

The statement also noted that Qatar’s role as a mediator between the two parties came at the request of the U.S. in 2012, and that the country has since helped produce meaningful result, including a deal earlier in this crisis that secured the release of 100 hostages.

“But blaming and threatening the mediator is not constructive, especially when the target is a friend and Major Non-NATO Ally that presently hosts 10,000 U.S. troops and America’s largest military presence in the Middle East,” the statement reads. “And we should be honest about what it means to give up on the mediation and walk away.”

Israel’s ongoing war in Gaza has killed almost 34,000 Palestinians, according to local officials. The conflict was prompted by Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Southern Israel, in which Palestinian militants killed over 1,200 people and took more than 250 hostages.

About 130 hostages are thought to be still in Gaza. One of the proposals that has been reportedly discussed with negotiators involved the release of 40 hostages held by Hamas, including all women and injured or ill men, at the initial stage in exchange for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners held in Israel. However, Hamas reportedly told negotiators last week it didn’t have 40 hostages that met the criteria.

On Wednesday, Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said talks are at a “delicate phase” without offering any further details.

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