Qatar has tried to eliminate the root cause of terrorism by providing massive financial aid to better the lives of people affected by conflicts, a senior Qatari official has said.
Abdulaziz al-Ansari, Chairman of the National Counter Terrorism Committee, said the work Qatar had undertaken in collaboration with international partners to counter terrorism and provide social and economic support to people affected by conflict needed to be better understood.
Speaking to Gulf Times on the sidelines of  the Westminster Counterterrorism Conference organised by Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in London yesterday, al-Ansari said over the past six years Qatar has paid more than $10bn towards development programmes. 
“Qatar has paid attention to the root causes of terrorism.” 
He said that actions spoke louder than words when it came to judging a country.
“We have worked together with the GCC countries for many decades. We cannot be blocked by people who make claims against us,” he commented.
The keynote address at the conference was given by Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs HE Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani.
The conference was attended by a large Qatari delegation including Yousef Ali al-Khater, Qatar’s ambassador to UK.
Dr Mutlaq Majed al-Qahtani, Special Envoy for Counterrorism, Qatar, spoke on the panel entitled: ‘Coalitions and Co-operation: Identifying Areas for Partnership and Multilateral Action’. 
Dr Reem al-Ansari, Deputy Dean of Qatar University said: “This is an eye-opener event. We are here to state facts. People need to hear the facts. Qatar does not support terrorism. The government has already made this clear but now we are giving more details.”
In his speech, Sheikh Mohamed said that the ‘absence of justice’ was a key factor in the rise of terrorism. He urged all countries to follow the rule of law. “Don’t disregard due process,” he said. 
Combating terrorism, he added, required much more than tough security measures. Also essential were socio-economic elements, developing the economies of the Mena region to ensure that people had ‘the dignity of work’ and supporting the education of the next generation.
The conference attended by over 300 counter-terrorism specialists alongside diplomats and international media commenced with a panel entitled: ‘Daesh: Exploring the Changing Nature of the Threat of Terrorism’ chaired by Sir John Scarlett, Vice-Chairman, RUSI, and former chief of the Secret Intelligence Service, UK. 
Panel member Gilles de Kerchove, EU Counter-Terrorism Co-ordinator, said in his view the threat posed by home grown terrorists in the EU was greater than that posed by retreating IS fighters. He said there was a trickle of returnees from the battlefields but while these still posed a threat they did not constitute “a massive flow”. Nevertheless, he said it was important for a co-operative effort to spot and record details of returnees at the borders and to share the information with the Schengen Information System (SIS), a governmental database maintained by the European Commission.
In response to a question about Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman’s recent pledge to return his country to a more moderate form of Islam, he said that he welcomed the approach. 
Jane Marriott, Director, Joint International Counter-Terrorism Unit (ICTU), UK, said that while defeating the physical caliphate was “a positive thing to do” it was vital that the follow-up was carefully calibrated with a focus on good governance to ensure that the situation was not made worse. 
Dr Shiraz Maher, Deputy Director, International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence (ICSR) at King’s College, London, said IS is many faceted and that while the physical manifestation of the prototype state had been destroyed, the fighters would just slip back into the desert ready to fight another day. He pointed to the deep sectarian and ethnic distrust in the Mena regions with people living with a sense of great vulnerability and insecurity exacerbated by the bombing of cities such as Raqqa and Mosul.

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