HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani has said that differences must be resolved through dialogue, not the blockade, calling for a regional security partnership between all countries in the Middle East.
In a speech before the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament on late Thursday, he stressed that Qatar adopts a method of change and constructive criticism for development, noting that for the past year it had been calling for dialogue. “Qatar has repeatedly invited its neighbors to the table and asked them to clarify their position and the reasons for the blockade and have not received a response,” he added.
The Deputy Prime Minister expressed his regret because there is more escalation on their part, where they still ignore calls from the international community to engage in dialogue and continue to pursue their unconstructive actions not only against Qatar but also against other countries in the region. “Our region cannot bear more crises, and we have enough problems on the table and that there are many negative effects on stability in this region.”
He stressed the need to establish a regional security partnership between all countries of the Middle East, adding that if you look carefully at the crises in the Middle East, you will find that the same countries are involved in these crises, and we want them to come to the dialogue table to adopt the principle of collective security and contribute to pushing it forward.
The Deputy Prime Minister considered that there is an important role for the European Union in this context, pointing out that everything that happens in this region affects it, whether in the form of refugee flows or the spread of transnational terrorism, welcoming in this regard the efforts of European countries to support the establishment of a dialogue on regional security, which Qatar believes in and tries to strength it.
He also noted the escalation in the Middle East since last year, especially in Yemen and Syria, the spread of cross-border terrorism and, finally, the Gulf crisis.
The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, H E Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, expressed his belief that the Middle East needs to create a culture of collective regional security, but unfortunately instead of union to meet the common challenges to achieve this goal, some regional forces sought to destabilise the region and violate international law.
He added that the political maneuvers that we are seeing in the Middle East and the aggressive and non-constructive actions that harm regional security and create a vacuum represent the ideal environment developing the growth and spread of extremism and terrorism.
He pointed out that as a result of the same non-constructive behaviour, Qatar has been exposed to some of these problems overnight, including the blockade, and “our neighbours see the changes adopted by Qatar as a threat to them, and they are in no way late in stigmatising anyone as a terrorist if he does not share views and directions.”
The Deputy Prime Minister said that social and economic development is the core of “our principles, and have invested heavily in this area to promote those principles and values, not only in our internal policy but also in our foreign policy.”
He added that Qatar focused on human development to build and protect human capital and invested heavily in education.
He pointed out that Qatar has developed its values and laws to protect human rights and workers’ rights and to address issues of concern to the international community in this regard, pointing out that women’s empowerment has been of paramount importance in Qatar’s internal policies and Qatar has achieved the highest female employment in the GCC, and the number of female students exceeds the number of male students in higher education institutions in Qatar.
“The culture of co-existence is part of Qatar’s agenda and we have worked hard over the last 20 years to make Qatar a platform for interfaith dialogue.”
The Deputy Prime Minister said that Qatar has a great interest in liquefied natural gas because it believes it will achieve more progress and prosperity, adding that the follower of the development of Qatar during the past two decades, would note that Qatar is now the exporter of 30% of the world’s production of liquefied natural gas and is one of the largest exporters of energy in the world.
He said that Qatar had become an important partner for many countries in the world in the field of energy, noting that Europe is the second largest supplier of our markets after Asia, stressing that Qatar has proven over the years that it is a reliable partner.
He noted that Qatar’s gross domestic product (GDP) was about $10bn in 1998, while now it exceeds $150bn. “This means that the size of the Qatari economy has increased significantly over the past two decades as a result of the great efforts exerted by the government and the people of Qatar, “pointing out that” the European Union is our second largest market, where 30% of our imports come from its member States.”
“Free access to information, freedom of the press and media is an essential part of the values in which Qatar believes and invest,” he said. “Yes, we are in an area where freedom of information and expression does not reach the point here in the West. However, Qatar is the best in our region in this area, and it was 20 years ago when the foundations of freedom of the press were established at a time when there were no media outlets except official government outlets. We supported the establishment of Al Jazeera Channel which is now one of the best free media in the region,” he added.
“Qatar believes that constructive dialogue is the way forward, so it has provided a platform for various parties to exchange views and discuss differences to reach compromises through dialogue,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.
He said that “Qatar has invested heavily in establishing good governance, which is an essential element of respect for the rule of law. We believe that transparency and the fight against corruption are among the most important requirements for the success of any nation. Qatar has shown its leadership in the region, In this regard, where it ranks first in the world in the index of confidence in political decision-making, and the second in terms of efficiency of the legislative system,” the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs said, “stressing that” these values and principles represent the essence of what we believe and apply in practice and not only what we call for it , we have done this by helping other countries in the region through our support for many peace agreements, such as Sudan a and Lebanon as an example.
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