HH the Heir Apparent, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani yesterday opened the 11th Doha Forum on Democracy, Development and Free Trade, which has brought together government officials, experts and other authorities from all over the world to address the subject of enriching the Middle East’s economic future in light of the “Arab Spring”.
?Following recent and ongoing events in the Middle East, the forum has taken on added regional significance, offering various organisations and dignitaries the opportunity to discuss the impact of the revolutions in the Arab and wider world.?
It is being held under the slogan “Enriching the Middle East’s Economic Future”, and participants will address issues related to rebuilding countries’ economies that have been affected by tyrannical leaders and subsequent revolutions.
Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad addressed participants at the opening ceremony where he suggested that the recent revolutions indicated a desire for freedom and dignity that had not always been associated with the Arab youth.
He argued that such freedoms did not contradict Islamic principles or Arab identity, but were basic human rights that should be enjoyed by citizens of all states.
However, the Heir Apparent warned that “justice does not arrive on the back of tanks”, arguing that replacing despotic regimes with colonial powers was not an adequate solution. Rather the Arab people themselves should and will be the shapers of their own destiny, he opined.
Sheikh Tamim bin Hamd also heralded a new player in global politics, “the Arab public opinion”, and suggested that the Israel-Palestine conflict was the major focus of this groundswell of common thought.
“The Palestinian cause is the cause of all Arabs and not just a slogan,” he said. “The conflict is a major factor in the stability of the region and a major cause of violence.”
He urged the international community to do more to pressurise Israel into acting in accordance with numerous UN Security Council resolutions, arguing that a just solution to the conflict would be the only way to bring permanent peace to the region.
He emphasised Qatar’s belief in the power of peace and co-operation, referring to the numerous ways in which the country has worked to broker peace in various conflict situations, and thanking the governments which have supported Qatar’s peacemaking endeavours.
Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, HE Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor al-Thani, also addressed guests at the forum’s opening, expressing Qatar’s wish to support peaceful development and reform in the region.?
He thanked Sheikh Tamim for his patronage of the forum.
The three-day forum will feature panel discussions and workshops on a number of subjects.?
Prominent figures such as the Reverend Jesse Jackson, Lord Peter Mandelson and Wyclef Jean, a number of foreign ministers and other participants will discuss how best to support developments in the region to ensure the safeguarding of basic human rights and to build bridges across cultural divides.
Other issues will be addressed during the sessions; however, there is a clear focus on the current situation in the region and the impact and transformation from “Arab Spring” into Summer.
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