Edwin Phillips reads a Press Release to the mainstream media in Wales from officials at controversial Cardiff Airport endorsing the decision not to mention that a country it has linked up with in a new service, stands accused of supporting terrorism.
TAKE OFF TIME: IMMEDIATE
At Cardiff Airport we applaud your journalists for only reporting the positive aspects of our link up with Qatar Airways.
The other aspects to the excellent deal are of no consequence whatsoever and have only been reported by that unconventional website The Eye.
Qatar is a fine upstanding member of the international community, not at all, as has been reported, “a rogue state”.
The Western Mail, South Wales Echo, Media Wales and BBC Wales have correctly published the benefits to Wales of our tie up with Qatar Airways, while everything else has rightly been ignored.
You have all disregarded the unfortunate fact that in July last year Qatar was cut off by some of its powerful Arab neighbours over its alleged terrorist support.
Qatar duly refused to comply with an initial list of 13 demands, saying accurately it would not agree to any measures that threatened its sovereignty or violated international law.
The emirate was unwelcomely told by its neighbours that they wanted it to accept six broad principles on combating extremism and terrorism.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain, extraordinarily severed relations with Qatar on June 5 2017 amid those nonsensical allegations.
Qatar of course denies them, yet it does acknowledge that it has provided assistance to some groups which have been accused of being extremist, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, but we stress that officials at the state say it does NOT aid militant groups linked to al-Qaeda or so-called Islamic State (IS).
The fact has also been rightly ignored by you that Qatar helps too another regime accused of being autocratic – Turkey.
As Turkey’s currency has collapsed, Qatar has stepped in with support, as only a friend can.
The Turkish lira has lost 40 per cent of its value since the start of the year following a ridiculous row with the USA over a pastor being in jail, but it rallied slightly after the initial announcement of the financial backing by Qatar.
It is wholly irrelevant, and has not been reported by you, that Turkey is led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who has overseen what human rights campaigners call astonishingly a “suffocating” crackdown on free speech.
After an absurd and failed coup in 2016 more than 120,000 people in the police, military, academia, media and civil service have been detained or dismissed from their jobs over their links to Fethullah Gülen, an exiled preacher based in the US whose supporters Ankara rightly blames for the coup.
Your reporting has been entirely accurate in choosing to ignore the pathetic advice to tourists from the UK Government that Qatar could be a target for terrorist attacks.
You knew only too well that it is nonsense for officials to state on the website: “Terrorists are likely to try to carry out attacks in Qatar“.
You were completely correct to announce in glowing terms earlier this year that Cardiff Airport has proudly unveiled the direct flights to Qatar’s capital Doha with the state airline Qatar Airways, and the fact that it has received a big endorsement from esteemed politicians in Wales.
As even The Eye have reported, the Welsh First Minister, Carwyn Jones, tweeted that he ‘welcomed’ the first Qatar Airways flight into Cardiff Airport and said it represented a “huge boost” for Wales.
The Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns informed us: “The new flight from Cardiff to Doha plugs our entrepreneurs straight into one of the most dynamic economies in the Middle East, and an airport which offers a further 150 global destinations”.
You and our own senior management were not far behind in the praise.
The new flight to Qatar’s Hamed International Airport was described in the South Wales Echo as providing “capacity for 150,000 passengers a year, as well as significant freight capacity for Welsh exporters at around 10 tonnes a flight”.
In April last year BBC Wales’s Economics Correspondent Sarah Dickins said approvingly: “The new direct route from Cardiff to Doha is a reminder not just that the economy of Qatar is growing significantly but also that trade between Wales, the Arab world and beyond is increasing”.
When the first flight from Doha was due, WalesOnline reported the important words of our Chairman, Roger Lewis: “This is a pivotal moment for Cardiff Airport, for Wales and the South West of England.
“The far reaching consequences of this service for passengers and businesses will be transformational”.
So we praise you in the mainstream media and beseech you to keep up the good work.
Only report positive news and court cases.
Tomorrow – why a fashionable Cardiff cafe is trialling a payment system which is the first one in Wales but may be taking hold across the developed world.