Foreign Ministry Spokesperson: Qatar is an Open Country

HE the Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Lolwah Al Khater affirmed that the State of Qatar is a country open to the world, it is opening its doors to jurists and human rights organizations unlike other countries in the region.

In an open debate at the 2019 Global Security Forum, Her Excellency criticized the bloc politics approach in the region, saying that Qatar always tries to soften that policy, as this policy pursues biased attitudes that harm those living in the region.

Her Excellency added that there are 3 things that must be taken in consideration to be objective, the first is to check the events when the information arrives, and the second to accept the differences and diversity of point of views as they happen in the rounds tables, and the last thing is not to deliberately publish misleading news, knowing this will determine the methodology to be followed to respond to this behavior.

Her Excellency doubted the possibility of the continuation of authoritarian regimes and their full control over the messages and information in the countries governed by those regimes.

On who owns the true story, Her Excellency said that the blockade countries are making many false accusations against the State of Qatar, and therefore many of the information they are saying are not true.

With regard to the possibility of unifying all policies and visions with other Gulf States, Her Excellency stressed that what must be agreed upon are the basic principles governing the relationship between these countries, there can be no perfect match in all policies and visions, and in case of disagreement mechanisms should be followed to discuss and resolve such disputes, and the GCC basic law, for example, has chapters on how to deal with such disputes, such as negotiations that are based on respect for each other.

Regarding the possibility of negotiations in order to resolve the crisis of the blockade imposed on the State of Qatar, Her Excellency said that the State of Qatar thanks Kuwait’s efforts in this regard, but every time there is a horizon for the beginning of a solution to the crisis we find soon that one of the blockade countries sends a hostile message towards such efforts, without any justification to thwart these efforts.

On the causes of Qatar’s mediation efforts in many international crises and Qatar’s ability to maintain excellent relations with all parties, Her Excellency explained that Qatar has a vision to present itself as a mediator in many political events, and Qatar has succeeded in that as a partner credible and reliable on the one hand and maintaining neutrality towards all parties, which some of the blockade countries failed to do it and tried through the role of the mediator to impose its program on one party or the other and tried to impose special agendas.

Regarding Qatar’s position on the conflict between the United States of America and the Islamic Republic of Iran and the possibility of military confrontations between the two countries and what is the position of Qatar in this regard, Her Excellency said that we must take a step back and look at the situation in a broader global perspective. If things go in the direction of military escalation, the whole world will be affected, and Qatar alone contributes 30 percent of the LNG market. Imagine if the export of gas stopped suddenly, what will happen to Japan, which buys 60 percent of its LNG needs from Qatar? What will happen to the UK, which depends on Qatar’s gas by 30 percent? What about the rest of the countries such as India, Singapore, China, South Korea and others?

Her Excellency added that the consequences of any military escalation will be for all, wondering why it is always asked about the position of Qatar while this issue will affect the international community as a whole.

Her Excellency added in this regard that when listening to the statements of the US State Department and the White House on the one hand, and the Iranian Foreign Ministry on the other hand, they all clearly say that none of them want a military escalation even neighboring countries that had a speech against Iran as soon as they witnessed signs of (military escalation) their position changed dramatically.

Her Excellency stressed that the State of Qatar is dealing with this conflict in a rational manner.

When asked whether Qatar had asked the United States not to launch an attack on Iran from its territory, Her Excellency replied that officials have not proposed this and it is difficult to respond to hypothetical issues that have not yet been raised.

Regarding the recent developments in Syria and the Turkish military operations, HE Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Lolwah Al Khater expressed her belief that the situation should be viewed through two factors, the first is that Syria is not an ordinary country going through normal circumstances, but is a country torn by war for seven years and it has many groups and international and regional forces, and this makes the Syrian border insecure. The second factor is the perceptions of Syria’s neighboring countries on what they consider threats and risks to their national security.

Unless the scene is read in this context, it is very difficult to assess the Turkish operation on the border with Syria, she added.

In response to a question about the fact that Qatar is a member of an alliance against ISIS and that the recent developments due to the Turkish military action may contribute to support the organization again, Her Excellency said that she is not sure of the validity of this point of view, which is that this operation would support the ISIS, noting that media reports are unofficial and do not necessarily reflect the reality of the situation.

Her Excellency added that she does not want to speak on behalf of Turkey but recalled the fact that that Turkey played a role in combatting the ISIS. As for Turkey’s relations with the United States, she said that both countries are members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and there have been many joint operations between the two sides to maintain security in this region.

On the other hand, in response to a question about women’s rights in Qatar and the extent of achieving equality with men, HE the Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the State of Qatar has made significant strides in the issue of gender equality.

HE Lolwah Al Khater praised the role carried out by HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, the Chairperson of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, in this regard, adding that the situation now is very different from what it was twenty years ago.

She noted that she would not have aspired to complete her education abroad and then assuming this position without the significant development made in the field of womens rights in Qatar, adding that many women who hold high positions in the country would not have been able to achieve this without the policies initiated by HH the Father Amir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani and HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser in order to promote women’s education and establish international universities within the Education City.

During her presentation at the Forum, Her Excellency reviewed what is known as the information crisis, saying that by virtue of her official position as a spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, she always answers questions about the reality of many events on the scene, which is interesting as the current era is an unprecedented era in the easy access to information. However, she faces these kinds of questions, because despite the availability of means to obtain information or facts, many do not trust these sources and therein lies the problem.

She added that there are many motives behind hiding the truth and confusion between information and opinions, including intellectual or mental prejudice, which is innate and difficult to avoid, as well as the emergence of social media, the changing information environment and the burden on the educational system and political and social polarization.

Her Excellency pointed out that this phenomenon is not confined to the Arab region, but also exists in Europe and North America, adding that technology has become a factor determining how humans interact with each other and how to exchange information and knowledge.

She also highlighted the development of information media from simple readable means to audiovisual media and then to the age of social media and delivery of information to the uneducated segments, which influenced the dynamics of the debate, and also influenced the way to communicate with each other.

HE Al Khater said that one of the most prominent problems of social media is the lack of context in those means, whether spatial or temporal contexts or even circumstances, as was the promotion of an incorrect killing of a soldier in Qatar was claimed to have occurred in the State of Qatar during which a real picture was circulated, but there were to wrong aspects in that: the first is that the picture was not in Qatar, and the second is it was taken 25 years ago in another country.

She also talked about the role of many media in political debates, citing the revolutions of the Arab Spring and the role played by Facebook during it, as well as the crisis of the blockade on Qatar and the role of Twitter in the repercussions of the crisis.

Her Excellency said that the State of Qatar suffered because of misleading information, pointing the hacking of the Qatar News Agency (QNA) website. On May 24, 2017, the hacking took place late in the night, and the media was ready to comment on this misinformation. A few weeks later, the blockade was imposed and officials in the State of Qatar realized that this hacking and misinformation were intended to be used as a pretext for the illegal actions taken against the Qatari people.

She also reviewed some statistics by Al Jazeera network about which she said shows the volume of fake accounts on social media. The aim of these accounts, she noted, was not to achieve consensus, but was mainly aimed at distorting information, and to create suspicion and disturbance, pointing out that the managements of Facebook and Twitter closed thousands of these fake accounts, many of which were in the GCC, the blockading countries in particular.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs