HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim al-Thani said that the Doha Forum 2023 was founded to serve as a platform for communication between peoples, not only during times when such communication is easy, but even in the darkest of times, with increasing polarisation in the world, and when communication between us all is an indispensable need.
Addressing the opening ceremony of the 21st edition of the Doha Forum, HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs said: "When we chose the slogan of the Doha forum this year, 'Building Shared Futures,' we hoped that the Forum would be held under conditions that would allow us to engage in positive dialogue around our common future, in a way that reflects the dreams and aspirations of the people of the world. However, with much sadness and pain, we meet today while the world is suffering from the shadows of successive and relentless crises".
He said: " The unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe that is happening in Gaza is prompting free peoples around the world to ask legitimate questions about the nature of the international system, the effectiveness of its legal tools, and the sincerity of its principles. These questions are becoming more urgent as we increasingly witness painful scenes. We may turn away from these horrors, but they are undeniable realities that 2.3mn people have been enduring every day, for more than 60 days."
He said that it is unfortunate that the pretexts used to target civilians are acceptable to some, stressing, at the same time, that deliberately targeting women, children, and innocent civilians is unacceptable under any pretext. "International law, alongside our humanitarian and religious values demand that we ensure their protection, and our condemnation of their killing, besiegement and starvation is a firm, unwavering, and principled position."
HE Sheikh Mohamed stressed that this crisis has clearly demonstrated the size of the gap between the East and the West, the gap between successive generations, and the double standards adopted by the international community, which have divided the world between those demanding an end to this war and to stop the killing machine, and those who are reluctant to even call for a ceasefire. "And we see those who were calling for a global stance against occupation in another context, refuse to even condemn the crimes of the occupation in the Palestinian territories today, and stand as an obstacle to achieving international consensus to stop the conflict."
Furthermore, His Excellency called for standing up to those who want to frame the conflict as a religious war, saying that "this conflict has and continues to be a matter of illegal occupation and a claim for the stolen right to self-determination. Over the past decades, the option of peace has always been on the table, but it has been the victim of intentional delay and attempts at prolongation. We must ask, which party has responded to all peace initiatives by consistently creating obstacles, and escalating on the ground to thwart peace initiatives."
He went on saying: "If we are truly sincere in our desire to work towards "Building Shared Futures," then the first step should be the painful recognition of the flawed reality of the world system, a flaw that allows members to accept the continuity of the conflict and the prevention of the adoption of a solution that will be sustainable only if it is fair and comprehensive."
In his speech, HE Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim al-Thani called for intensifying sincere efforts to develop new conceptions of the international system that are commensurate with today's world, to abandon the calculations of the past that have become outdated, and to begin today to "Build the Future" with a comprehensive review of our international and humanitarian systems. "This review needs to establish a global order based on systems, rules, and institutions that respect equality among people, without power privileges, discrimination or preference on the basis of race, religion or political affiliation," he stressed.
HE Sheikh Mohamed said: "One might say that this is not the right time to talk about a shared future for the entire world, in light of the vast difference of attitudes towards an issue that tests our humanity. However, we believe that our greatest need today is to listen to each other, to understand one another, and to discuss frankly and transparently - with hope of seeing beyond the tragedies of the present - how to return the world to the visions that shaped the international system."
He pointed that history has "taught us that dialogue is the best way to confront the most complex conflicts, when there is goodwill and wise political leadership. This is the basis of Qatar's belief in the importance of mediation in resolving conflicts, and its efforts to achieve this, including ongoing efforts, with our regional and international partners, for a ceasefire in Gaza."
He said : "The diverse presence in this hall today, and over the next two days, represents an opportunity for in-depth discussions, taking into account all the complexities of the present, and looking into the depths of the gloomy picture of our reality today for a glimmer of hope and a future of peace, prosperity and cooperation. I invite you to take advantage of this forum's sessions and meetings, to reach ideas and visions that will help decision-makers in dealing with the challenges we face, and reflect the genuine desire to build a shared future.
"Despite the accumulated pain caused by conflicts and disputes in our world today, we must cling to the hope of a bright tomorrow and building a shared future. At this crucial moment, we are all facing a challenge that tests our humanity, and to keep alive the flame of hope among our peoples, and the belief that humanity can confront war with peace; conflict with dialogue; and destruction with construction."
HE Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al-Thani wished best of luck to everyone and success to the Forum.
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