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Posted On: 18 February 2019 10:08 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:20 pm

Qatar willing to resolve Gulf crisis, says Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs

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His Excellency (H.E.) Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani has stressed that Qatar is open for dialogue to resolve the Gulf crisis, adding that it has been calling on the blockade countries to sit at the negotiating table to discuss the causes of the crisis and work to resolve it.

His Excellency said during a discussion panel in the Munich Security Conference (MSC) the Saudi and Emirati leaders should pay attention to the Gulf issue because it is integral to the regional security, adding that the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) was established for cooperation and consultation within the region, and that it is the most successful model for supporting the stability of the region.

He stressed that the Gulf crisis threatens regional security, saying, "We have been through various conflicts and disagreements in the last twenty years, but we have never reached this level and reflect a shift in the position of the leadership of these countries."

H.E. the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs said that Qatar was ready for dialogue during the Gulf Summit in Kuwait, but the blockade countries were not, as evidenced by the fact that they have lowered the level of their representation at that summit. He added that the invitation to Qatar to attend the recent Gulf Summit in Riyadh was from the GCC Secretary-General and not from the host country "that is why we participated with a lower representation."

On Washington's efforts for resolving the Gulf crisis, H.E. Sheikh Mohammed said that the United States (US) has spared no effort to resolve the crisis, adding that the US President Donald Trump had tried to hold a Gulf summit and sent letters to the leaders of the blockade countries, but their response was that they were unwilling to resolve the issue at that time.

He also stressed that Qatar's relations with the United States have never been affected by this crisis, saying: "Our strong alliance with them continues. We have the largest US airbase and there are 11 to 12 thousand US troops on our territory. The centre of the international coalition is in Qatar, and everything is going well."

With regard to the relations with Iran, His Excellency said "We have not built alternative alliances to replace the GCC. Iran is our neighbor. We have always shared a large part of a gas field. It is not like a new thing after the crisis. We share borders with them, and this is geography." He added that the differences between the Gulf states and Iran should be resolved through dialogue, and this was a position not only of Qatar, but of the whole GCC.

H.E. Sheikh Mohammed said that the US is making efforts to establish a strategic alliance in the Middle East, adding: "Our position in this regard was clear: we must address the fundamental problem before talking about the alliance. It's not possible to establish an alliance among countries, four of which are hostile to one. If we do so, we will greatly compromise our credibility before our people that would question our alliance with hostile countries. He said that the idea and the concept are indisputable as long as they are not contrary to the provisions of international law, adding that as long as this alliance is defensive in nature and based on the exchange of capabilities between its members, there will be no problem with it if it is based on cooperation.

He stressed the need to address the core issue before moving to a higher level of the alliance, adding that the Qatari side has explained this clearly to the US, and constantly holding meetings to help constructively build this alliance. He affirmed that for this alliance to succeed, this pending issue must be addressed.

His Excellency said that the resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict must be fair. ''We will support any US efforts within the acceptable context of the Palestinian people, but we can not go beyond the Palestinian people and accept something they have not seen yet, so we hope that they bring something positive for the Palestinians and we will support it,'' he added.

"The core issue of the relationship between Qatar and Israel is the Palestinian issue, as long as this is not resolved, there will always be a problem between us. This applies for all the Arab countries," H.E. the Foreign Minister pointed out.

On the Syrian issue, H.E. Deputy Prime Minister said "We are seeing countries are running back to normalize relations with the Syrian regime, inviting the Syrian regime to come back to the Arab League. And we raise a question. what the Syrian regime has done in order to be rewarded by normalisation of relations, awarded by coming back to the League of Arab States."

"This is what we said when they tried to convince us of the return of the Syrian regime to the Arab League," he added.

On the labour laws and Qatar's hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, H.E. Sheikh Mohammed said "we started the review process for migrant workers, we have done a lot of things. Qatar is a pioneer in these changes in the region and we are proud of that, but we recognize that we have to do more."

His Excellency said that Qatar appreciates what Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other organisations say, and it will keep the dialogue open with them. (QNA)

Cover image credit: Yeni Safak