Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hopes GCC Crisis Can be Resolved Through GCC and Kuwaiti Mediation

HE the Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani expressed Sunday his hope that the GCC crisis will be resolved in the context of the GCC and through Kuwaiti mediation.

HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said at a lecture he gave today during the fourth edition of the Gulf Arab Forum that Kuwait will host meetings tomorrow with HH the Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Jaber Al Sabah as the main mediator. His Excellency expressed hope that all parties involved do not need a western party to intervene and try to influence a solution, as the one that will come from within the GCC will be the sustainable one while a dictated solution will be nothing more than a formality.

His Excellency noted that tomorrow’s meeting will be at the ministerial level, while HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani will attend the summit.

HE the Foreign Minister said that the summit’s agenda is yet to be presented to Qatar. His Excellency maintained however that the GCC crisis, as the main development of the region, will be up for discussion during tomorrow’s meeting even if it is not on the summit’s agenda.

HE the Deputy Prime Minister said that keeping the GCC alive as a bloc and a system is an important goal that the Kuwait summit can achieve. His Excellency expressed his belief that the effort put in by HH the Emir of Kuwait to keep the bloc alive, a dream for all the people of the Gulf, by calling for the meeting will be realized. His Excellency added that this step alone was viewed positively by the State of Qatar.

His Excellency stressed that the summit must result in a clear mechanism that puts an end to this crisis which has lasted six months so far, adding that putting a GCC country under siege suddenly and for no apparent reason is an unaccepted behavior.

HE the Foreign Minister noted that the conflict with governments of siege countries have moved from being with the government of the State of Qatar to becoming with the people of Qatar, as this was the first incident of having a difference become on a popular level. His Excellency noted that Qatar sought to avoid that from day one but unfortunately no one would listen. His Excellency then said that they now rely on the wisdom of HH Sheikh Sabah and on the other countries to have a voice of reason that calls for coming to a table and discussing differences, on the condition that any agreement is binding to all parties involved. In that case the State of Qatar will be the first to welcome such an agreement, His Excellency added.

In the questions and answers session afterwards, HE the Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said that the State of Qatar was the one attacked since the beginning of the crisis, but kept calling for dialogue despite that. His Excellency added that Qatar pays the utmost respect for the mediation efforts of HH the Emir of Kuwait not just on a governmental level, but on a popular level as well as the people do realize the role HH the Emir of Kuwait has played in the crisis. His Excellency added that Qatar will continue to be supportive of Kuwait’s efforts.

HE the Foreign Minister said that the mediator would never make an unreasonable request from any party involved in the crisis. His Excellency then added that Qatar is dealing with the crisis within the context of respecting sovereignty and international law, and so would welcome discussing any matter if its within those respects.

HE the Deputy Prime Minister said that no country has the right to make demands to another one, but it can present its concerns. His Excellency stressed that the State of Qatar would be willing to understand such concerns, particularly as Qatar believes in the concept of collective security. His Excellency maintained however that no one should use that concept to attempt to intervene in the internal affairs and the policies of other countries.

HE the Foreign Minister stressed that the State of Qatar respects the sovereignty of all siege countries. That is why Qatar looks forward to the summit, His Excellency added. HE the Foreign Minister also said that Qatar has long said that the GCC as a bloc remains the most important to the State of Qatar.

HE the Deputy Prime Minister also stressed that those negotiations must be subject to clear principles, or they would just drift and drag on endlessly. His Excellency said that the State of Qatar laid out its principles which are represented in the GCC charter, respect of sovereignty and international law. His Excellency stressed once again that the State of Qatar was ready to discuss the concerns of the siege countries one by one, as they are yet to offer a single proof of their claims six months after the crisis of blockading the Qatari people.

On the impact the GCC crisis has had on the humanitarian side, HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said that the GCC crisis had a big influence on many regional security issues and not just humanitarian topics. His Excellency added that those crises affected the coordination and joint work abilities of GCC members, which compounded the social impact.

His Excellency confirmed that Qatar will continue its role of providing aid and humanitarian work whether in Gaza, Syria, or in Yemen. His Excellency acknowledged however that conditions there were different as sometimes aid is not allowed to go through.

On listing Qatari charitable organizations on a terrorist list created by the siege countries, His Excellency said that such an action was nonexistent in accordance to international law as the UN has clear procedures in that regard. His Excellency added that the procedures and claims provided by the siege countries against those organizations are unrecognized by the international community as most of the charitable organizations were partners with the UN and have an observer status.

HE the Foreign Minister touched on developments in Yemen and Said that the State of Qatar has no presence there, as the Qatari forces participated in the coalition when there was a threat on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and as part of Qatar’s duties in the GCC. Qatar also had a political role in bringing the Yemeni parties together in order to help the legitimate government return to Sanaa and carry out its role in line with the results of the national dialogue conference, His Excellency added. HE the Foreign Minister also said that the war in Yemen today has led to a severe deterioration in humanitarian conditions.

HE the Deputy Prime Minister expressed his hope of separating humanitarian work from military one, as well as avoiding the use of such tragedies as a tool for pressure by one party against the other. His Excellency also expressed his hope that there will be a break through politically that allows all parties to sit together and have a dialogue that puts an end to the crisis.

On developments in Iraq, HE the Foreign Minister said that Qatar recognizes Iraq and all its segments as a part of the Arab world. His Excellency added that the stability of Iraq enhances stability in the GCC, as the two sides have shared borders as well as shared culture and history. His Excellency highlighted the efforts and achievements of Iraq in fighting ISIS and liberating many Iraqi regions. His Excellency stressed that those efforts must be followed through politically, as well as in terms of development and humanitarian effort. HE the Foreign Minister said that Qatar is constantly cooperating with the Iraqi government and looks forward to being part of the developmental process there.

HE the Deputy Prime Minister returned to discussing the Gulf crisis and acknowledged that the GCC has been ineffective and silent in dealing with the crisis, but maintained that it was no reason for Qatar to abandon it. His Excellency added that the State of Qatar will do everything to preserve the bloc until the last moment and said that an exit by Qatar would lead to a collapse to the entire bloc. His Excellency noted that trust is currently lacking in the GCC since the crisis and confirmed that trust will not be regained after one meeting, but would require determining the nature of ties in the future in order to rebuild trust. His Excellency said that the GCC was not like the EU and lacked its clear mechanisms, but highlighted that the EU was at one stage may be as week as the GCC is these days but worked on setting the mechanisms that allowed it to be strong again. His Excellency expressed hope that the GCC can apply new methods that matches the aspirations of the GCC people.

HE the Foreign Minister noted that the State of Qatar did not seek to internationalize the crisis, instead focusing on communicating with HH the Emir of Kuwait and the Kuwaiti mediation. His Excellency noted however that the smear campaigns conducted on an international against the State of Qatar propelled the country to try and set the story straight. His Excellency noted that the crisis was of interest to many western officials, who felt that it would have an impact on their work. His Excellency acknowledged that the crisis can have impacts harmful to western interests, even though geographically it was in the gulf.

HE the Deputy Prime Minister said that the list designating 59 people as terrorists was of no value legally or to the international community and only concerns those who published it. The people affected by it have the right to appeal the measures taken against them and the State would provide all the legal support in that matter, His Excellency added. HE the Foreign Minister also said that the list does not have any weight either for the government of the State of Qatar or for the international community.

HE the Foreign Minister stressed that the siege of Qatar was no small matter as it affects regional security. His Excellency added that whoever considers it to be a small matter does not prioritize regional security high enough. His Excellency also highlighted that the people of Qatar were directly affected by the siege and were deprived of many rights on an academic and family levels among others. His Excellency then noted that Qataris were being discriminated against solely based on their nationality which was unacceptable.

HE the Deputy Prime Minister said that the crisis would have been small in accordance to international law if it was just a blockade without further measures, as it would be a straightforward political matter. However the host of measures taken against the people of Qatar made it a much bigger crisis than some people think.

On the American role in the crisis, HE the Foreign Minister described ties between the U.S. and all of the GCC as strategic. His Excellency added that the value of that relationship is in the unity of the block and not in having each country on its own, which gives even greater importance to the solidity of the bloc.

His Excellency highlighted that the State of Qatar hosts the U.S. military base and the command of the international coalition, in addition to many other activities in Doha. That means the crisis has a direct negative effect on counter-terrorism efforts and propelled the U.S. to play an active role to deescalate and to try and resolve the crisis, His Excellency said.

HE the Deputy Prime Minister highlighted the United States’ many attempts to resolve the situation, including a road map presented by the U.S. Secretary of State at the outset of the crisis and an invitation from the President of the U.S. for holding a dialogue in Camp David. Both initiatives were rejected, His Excellency said. HE the Foreign Minister added however that efforts were ongoing to prevent the crisis from affecting regional security, which is a key priority for the U.S.

His Excellency also said that coordination is ongoing between the U.S. and the GCC as a whole and not just Qatar.

HE the Deputy Foreign Minister then discussed the Gulf and Arab regional developments, saying that there were many disruptions to the regional level whether on a smaller level as is the case with the GCC or on a bigger level as with the Arab League and Islamic organizations. The disruptions made to the regional system had many reasons and factors which include humanitarian crises in Syria, Yemen, or developments in Iraq, Libya, Somalia and many other countries.

HE the Foreign Minister expressed his regret that the Middle-East has become synonymous with tragedies and humanitarian crises. His Excellency also expressed regret that the region carries only bad news of transnational terrorist groups or differences between states on the concept of collective security, that ultimately leads to intervention in the internal affairs of other countries. His Excellency noted that the result was a state of polarization in the region that had many impacts. His Excellency highlighted also the negative role played by Arab media, which was a bad example for exercising freedom, as it was focused solely on delivering particular messages and advancing specific regional agendas. There was also the technological progress in terms of social media and the bad use of them in terms of creating electronic armies and creating false public opinion, His Excellency added.

HE the Deputy Prime Minister said that some hashtags can have more than five million tweets in some instances, but only thousands are real with the rest created through electronic armies directed by governments to achieve specific goals. His Excellency said that such behavior reflected a lack of wisdom on the part of many regional powers which are ultimately manipulating the fate of the peoples. All these problems reflected a regional vacuum of any clear mechanisms for resolving conflicts, which turns any conflicts into a violent affair as is the case now.

HE the Foreign Minister said that the results of these factors became abundantly clear in the region as they led to an increase in the desire to intervene in the internal affairs of other countries with stability and collective security as the excuse. His Excellency added that collective security has become an excuse used by many countries now to interfere in the internal affairs of others, while the real goal is to pursue regional agendas and expand regional influence. These attempts ultimately lead to increasing the state of polarization in the region.

His Excellency also highlighted that a single state can now also be highly polarized, preventing any chance of real reform and causing people in those countries to lose hope of a better future. This creates in turn the perfect environment for extremism, violence, and the terrorism we see today.

On the region’s many crises, His Excellency listed the many crises in the region’s including the Palestinian crisis which is close to completing 100 years without finding a fair solution. His Excellency stressed that the GCC crisis was in the context of the same game of power, which begs the question of why was Qatar thrown into a crisis based on accusations everyone knows were baseless.

His Excellency then discussed the difference in Qatar’s role compared to its peers in the region and said that the country was an active player in the region and has its independent policies that are slightly distinct from other GCC countries. HE the Foreign Minister that such differences were healthy in advanced countries and civilizations and is not considered a conflict. His Excellency then said that the EU for instance has variance in policies of different countries, but the founding rules and principles remain the same.

HE the Deputy Prime Minister highlighted that the vision of the State of Qatar is also different from its peers in the region, as it has a progressive vision based on developing human capital. His Excellency cited Qatar coming first regionally in indices related to human development, competitiveness, and peace as proof of that. The country also is resource-rich and is considered an international energy hub that many countries rely on and consider it an important partner. Countries such as Japan, Korea, and the United Kingdom import large quantities of LNG from Qatar. Others include Holland and Italy, who all have important ties with Qatar in the energy sector. His Excellency said another country was the UAE, who Qatar still supplies energy to every day despite of all the measures taken so far. His Excellency stressed that Qatar respects and is committed to all the agreements it signed with the UAE, as it distinguishes between diplomatic and economic ties and avoids any action that can adversely impact the lives of people.

HE the Foreign Minister said that the State of Qatar’s preparations to host World Cup 2022 and its contributions in the developmental and humanitarian fields in more than a 100 countries around the world makes it a successful nation. The country also refuses the axis approach to regional politics and always calls for dialogue between all parties involved, His Excellency said.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs