HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said on Saturday that the power game being played in the region was leading to a state of polarisation which has created a proxy war and given some countries the excuse to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries.
Speaking at the Rome 2017 MED conference, the deputy prime minister and foreign minister said Qatar had some differences with other Gulf states but those differences were never at a level of a security threat. "This has been the guiding principle with our relationship with other GCC countries."
In a series of tweets, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs quoted the salient points of the minister's address. Referring to the GCC crisis, Sheikh Mohamed said: "We see that the blockade and this crisis as an obstacle to the collective effort to ensure that security covers the whole region and that the instability factor is not used by the power players."
Reuters adds: The three-day conference organised by Italy was focused on the Middle East, the Gulf and North Africa and promised to look beyond the turmoil roiling the region and promote a "positive agenda".
However, many of the 45 heads of state, ministers and business leaders who attended the event over the past three days saw little future cheer.
Qatar's foreign minister captured the gloom, bemoaning "a lack of wisdom" in the region, with "no hope" on hand for ordinary people hoping for an end to years of conflict, upheaval and sectarianism.
"Maybe, I have presented a dark picture, but it is not as dark as I have explained, it is darker," said Sheikh Mohamed. Qatar has been subjected to an economic blockade by its Arab neighbours, which accuse it of supporting terrorism. Qatar denies the accusations.
A day earlier, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohamed Javad Zarif accused Saudi Arabia of blocking ceasefire efforts in Syria, "suffocating" Qatar, destabilising Lebanon and supporting Islamic State.
Casting around for reasons to be positive, most speakers pointed to the defeat of Islamic State, which used to rule over millions of people in Iraq and Syria, but now controls just small pockets of land after months of fierce military assaults.
However, officials warned the group would not die easily.
"It has been defeated as a military force on the ground, but it is likely to go back to cities to create destruction and terror," said Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit, predicting the militant group could still be around in 10 years.
HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani participating in the Rome 2017 MED conference yesterday. Picture courtesy of Ministry of Foreign Affairs Twitter account.