Qatar's ambassador to Belgium and head of its missions to the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) Abdulrahman bin Mohammed al-Khulaifi said that the blockading countries have taken the charge of supporting terrorism as a pretext for imposing siege on the State of Qatar, but none of them has provided a single evidence to substantiate their claims and allegations.
At a reception hosted by him and attended by a number of EU and Nato officials, the ambassador said that Qatar, despite the attempts to break it and destroy its economy, is still strong and steadfast. He added that the desperate attempts of the siege countries to convince the world that Qatar supports extremism and terrorism have bounced back on those countries and revealed their links to extremism and terrorism. "Qatar has strengthened its relations with the international community during this period," he said.
The ambassador referred to the speech of His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani at the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, in which His Highness outlined the lies and allegations of the siege countries and stressed that the fight against terrorism and extremism has always been a priority for Qatar through its active contributions to regional and international efforts to combat this phenomenon.
He said that the siege imposed on Qatar has expanded to the peoples of the blockading countries, where showing mere sympathy to Qatar is prohibited and criminalised. The envoy pointed out that officials in the siege countries did not seek to criticise Qatar's policies, which is welcomed by Qatar, but instead called for changing the regime in Qatar, violated its sovereignty and incited hatred and violence.
Al-Khulaifi stressed that Qatar has not and will not support or finance terrorism, but it has rather made every effort to combat terrorism. He added that Qatar is an active member of the international coalition against terrorism, in addition to being a party to international and bilateral agreements against terrorism. He further stressed that the challenge of combating terrorism is not limited to Qatar, explaining that it is a regional and global challenge that requires collective efforts and political commitment by everyone.
The envoy pointed out that the freedom of media provided by Qatar has been widely accepted and welcomed by the peoples of the Arab world and the international community, adding that the call by some countries to limit this freedom indicates only their fear and weakness. Qatar, unlike many countries in the Middle East, was not built on repression, fear and censorship, he added.
Al-Khulaifi touched on the geopolitical instability and regional conflict in the Middle East and the attempts being made by countries to exploit these tensions for their own gains. He further underlined the importance of settling disputes by peaceful means, stressing that maintaining peace and stability at the regional and international levels is a priority for Qatar.
The envoy pointed out, what distinguishes Qatar from its counterparts in the region is not its wealth, natural resources or the tremendous urban development, but the fact that the concept of development is at the core of Qatar's internal and external policy. The ambassador noted that Qatar enjoys a distinguished economic position and a high level of transparency as well as the highest level of security and stability in the Middle East and North Africa region and is ranked first in the world in terms of the most efficient governments according to the global economic model.
He explained that these successes have been achieved thanks to the principles of good governance and the efficiency of the legislative system in Qatar, which has placed it in a leading international position with respect to confidence in political decision-making.
The envoy also highlighted the equal status of Qatari women, which is a genuine contributor in the development, where their participation in education and workforce reached unprecedented levels. He further noted that Qatari women today represent the highest percentage of women working in the GCC countries, and their number, as compared to men, is higher in institutions of higher education.
Al-Khulaifi also pointed out that religious tolerance is one of the constants in the Qatari society and government policy. No Muslim or non-Muslim religious sect suffers any discrimination or exclusion as it does in some neighbouring countries. Doha has become a platform for dialogue between religions, cultures and ideas, he added.
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