Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs: Middle East Moves from Bad to Worse Due to Its Crises

Rome HE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al -Thani, said that the Middle East has moved from a bad situation to a worse one in the last decade due to its crises, referring in regard to the blockade of the State of Qatar and the problems of Lebanon, Syria, Libya and Yemen.

In a special session on the sidelines of the Mediterranean Dialogue Conference in Rome with journalists, Declan Walsh, the New York Times correspondent from Cairo, and Middle East Editor David Hearst, HE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs expressed his belief that the situation in the Middle East needs to be addressed.

Answering a question on Qatar being called a funder of terror by President Donald Trump and later on being called a friend, His Excellency said: ” We cant base policies of entire countries on tweets. US institutions were against the blockade and have great relations with Qatar and they mentioned that Qatar is a partner of the US this was mentioned by the State Department, the Department of Defense, the Department of Treasury.

They had also commended Qatars role in counterterrorism. The Presidents initial statement may have been derived from false information that was given to him at that time, perhaps even by the blockading countries.

At the end we see that the truth will prevail, and that whats happened, His Excellency said

“I am sure that American institutions have shown the president that Qatar is a strategic ally and not a financier of terrorism. The war on terror starts from the bases in Qatar.”

Massive propaganda campaign was started against Qatar and in time everyone realize that this was not true. The veil has been uncovered. The same methods were used against any country that opposed their policies, take Canada for example, His Excellency noted.

In response to a question about what happened with the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, His Excellency said : “What happened with Khashogji is heartbreaking and we believe that the international community is expecting the investigation to be concluded. And the criminals to be held accountable. And after this investigation we believe that there is a lot of reparation to be done and none of these will bring khashogji back, he added.

Responding to a question on social media and how it influenced tension in the region and how was it playing out between ordinary people of different countries against the backdrop of this political crisis, His Excellency Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Minister said at the beginning of a crisis the misuse of social media especially by the blockading states was noticed especially with the propaganda campaign against our country, and against the Qatari people. Trying to change the perception has shown that we have a society around us that does not understand how to practice freedom of speech. They didnt calculate the damage against them and their reputation and their future. What has been done over the first few months of the blockade was very damaging to GCC reputation. all social media couldve been put to a much better use for positive change and not negative change. To change the mentality of the people to open their hands and to encourage progressive thinking not towards hate speech, His Excellency added.

On the war in Yemen, HE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs said : Ive seen promises that the Yemen war was going to stop. We saw the US State departments statement yesterday about stopping operations of Hudaida. His Excellency stressed : “We need to see proper engagement among the Yemeni people, we dont want to see external players taking advantage of the situation. And not see hope for a solution

People of Yemen, he added, are paying the price. Any country with more than 20 percent of its people are at risk of starvation is considered a disaster. In Yemen 70 percent are at risk. Its catastrophic. Not to mention the danger of the spread of diseases, ” His Excellency stressed that” the situation in Yemen needs a solution and we hope the international community would provide a solution “

The war in Yemen started for two reasons. One to restore the legitimate government and to illuminate the security threat along the Saudi border. None of these have been achieved until now and then many people are paying the price still And the security threat has increased, His Excellency added.

Since these two objectives have not been achieved, the only way forward is to bring the Yemeni people together and to move ahead and stop in the war establish a peace process.

The security threat has increased, there is threats on Saudi cities which is a dangerous threat to the peace in the region. We need to stop this war and recalculate.

Answering a question on Qatar being a part of the Saudi Coalition, HE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs said that the State of Qatar does not regret being a part of the coalition. Our mandate was to protect the Saudi border. The main objective of this coalition was eliminating the security threat and restoring the legitimate government and we have not diverted from that mandate.

On Qatar’s view of what Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were doing in Yemen, His Excellency said we still see them continuing with the same behavior. Not responsive to calls of fixing these issues. we see continuation of this recklessness in dealing with regional security.

Answering a question about Qatars relations with Iran and the United States, HE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs said: “The US is definitely a strategic Ally, however, we cant change geography. Iran is a neighbor and we share a gas field with them, we use their airspace since that is the only airspace available after the blockade, and our supply comes from Iranian ports as they are a part of this region”.

His Excellency said that there is a dispute between the US and Iran and for us it’s not a comfortable situation. At the end for us it’s a different situation. If there is a way for Qatar to fix this situation, then it will. Qatar has been a mediator and a facilitator for many adversaries. At the end we want a stable region, a nuclear weapon free region. We need to work on coexistence, HE added.

Answering questions on the World Cup 2022 in Qatar and how does he think the world cup will help Qatar, HE said that football is a message of peace and that Qatars aim was to spread this message and to change The Wests’ perspective on the Arab world. Unfortunately some have started to use this for their political gains against the State of Qatar.

“We saw that the World Cup also brought positive change to the State of Qatar, for example our labor laws were reformed. We found that the situation of labor workers was not perfect and we aimed towards fixing that. International organizations have noticed what Qatar has reformed and they commended Qatar for its reforms. We do believe that the World Cup brought a positive change to Qatar”.

On a statement by FIFA President on expanding the teams in the upcoming World Cup, His Excellency said that he is sure Qatar will host the best World Cup but if there is a room for cooperation between Qatar and other countries, it is always welcome.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs