International policy-makers should act on the Syrian issue as well as initiate steps to ensure the region remains free of nuclear weapons, HE the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor al-Thani urged at the Munich Security Conference Core Group meeting which concluded in Doha yesterday.
Referring to the “deeply disturbing” situation in Syria, he said the region was faced with one of its “gravest moral and humanitarian challenges”.
“If we do not act to prevent the ongoing escalation of conflict, the whole region risks being pulled into protracted instability,” he warned.
Observing that the prevailing situation in Syria was undermining the whole region, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim said: “So we, alongside our allies, are working to arrest this acute decline and find workable solutions to pull Syria back from a near terminal state. I am not necessarily advocating military action, but inaction is not an option.”
Hinting about the discussions on the issue, the Premier said: “I believe we can resolve this situation if all nations act in the common interest; seeking a Syria that is stable, that respects and accounts for the rights of all who live there.”
“The alleged pursuit by Iran for military nuclear capability still occupies the minds of many in the region and anyone with an interest in its stability,” he pointed out.
Stressing Qatar’s good relations with Iran, he observed that “but none of this negates a primary goal for Qatar - to ensure the region remains free of nuclear weapons. This is fundamental to long-term stability. I would fear for the future of all states in the region if one were to obtain nuclear weapons, not least for the arms race that would ensue.”
The Prime Minister asserted that “freeing the region from nuclear weapons should include Israel’s removal of its nuclear arsenal to ensure the stable and secure future” of all states in the region. Otherwise, the adverse consequences of the nuclear arms race would remain.
“The only way we can hope to resolve doubts surrounding Iran’s nuclear programme is definitively through dialogue - by all concerned parties sitting together to resolve and address concerns.”
Stating that the discussions should be serious, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim said: “They need not be public, but they must have a timetable. We must create a sensible imperative to act and an effective incentive for peaceful resolution.”
‘’But, I accept like we all do, that a nuclear-free region is a red line, and it is a red line that we should all strive, with every sinew and with every diplomatic tool available to avoid being crossed.”
On the Middle East conflict, the Prime Minister said that the stalled peace process between Israel and Palestine should not be ignored in the interest of long-term regional stability and long term peace in the region.
“Israelis and Palestinians deserve to live in peace, to have their right to exist respected and to have full sovereignty over their affairs. That is why we are supporting the reinvigoration of the Arab Peace Initiative and will work with all the actors in pursuit of a goal all should endorse; peaceful co-existence,’’ he added.
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