HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said that the ongoing talks on the Gulf crisis had resulted in progress.
During a session at the Mediterranean Dialogues Forum in Rome, he said: "We moved from an impasse in the Gulf crisis to talks about a future vision regarding the relationship with Saudi Arabia".
"While I cannot disclose who are the officials or parties involved in the negotiations, I can say that the events took place under Kuwaiti mediation, and we thank His Highness the Amir of the State of Kuwait for his continuous efforts and commitment to restoring the unity of the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) states," he added.
HE Sheikh Mohamed said that what happened in 2017 was disruption for the region. "We believe that the blockade on Qatar and the sequence of events after that have been affecting and undermining the security of the region."
He said: "In the recent weeks, we have moved from stalemate to some progress, where there are some talks that took place between us and Saudi Arabia," adding "we hope that these talks will lead to some progress."
"We have a forward looking vision," HE Sheikh Mohamed said, stressing that Qatar always looks for a more stable and united GCC.
On the state of relations between Qatar and the rest of the GCC and the Riyadh meetings, he said: "The participation of the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain in the Gulf Cup is a positive step."
Responding to a question on Iran and the probability of downgrading the ties with it if relations are restored with the other GCC countries, the minister said: "First of all we have to acknowledge that Iran is our neighbour and we look at it differently than countries in the West or the United States. We will remain having relations of good neighbourhood with them."
He pointed that Qatar and Iran share a border and a gas field. "When the blockade took place, Iran opened its air space and the Qatari people are very thankful for this move," he said.
On whether Qatar's would change its policy towards Iran in the case of GCC relations restoration, he said: "We do not see any correlation between the two steps. Qatar has always had independent foreign policy, and this foreign policy will remain independent. Our internal and external affair will not be subject for negotiations"
HE Sheikh Mohamed added: "We understand if there are some concerns...we are willing to address and discuss these concerns, but we are not going to talk about what we should do or do not...No sovereign country would accept this".
He said that one day the entire region needs to talk with Iran.
"We need to restore stability in our region, and we believe that dialogue will be the ultimate solution. The current tension is not in favour of anyone," he said.
Responding to a question about the Muslim Brotherhood, HE Sheikh Mohamed said that Qatar has been supporting and continues to support peoples' choices, adding "We need to look at what Qatar really did with the countries whether they are under Muslim Brotherhood leadership or any other leadership".
He said Qatar supported Tunisia, after the Arab Spring, when Muslim Brotherhood were in power, and after Muslim Brotherhood left power, Qatar doubled its support to Tunisia, because "Our support was to the people not to the political party. At the end Qatar is a state, not a political party".
He said: "Egypt is the same case, our support went to Egypt when the Military Council was in power, and continued after they elected their president, and we continued our support after the overthrow of Mursi." Linking Qatar with single ideology is proven to be a false accusation. "We will continue carrying our policy in support for the peoples," he stressed.
In response to a question about the political process in Qatar, he said that the State seeks to strengthen the participation of the Qatari people in the decision-making process, which will take place through the Shura Council.
HE Sheikh Mohamed affirmed that Qatar's foreign policy is based on principles written in the constitution. Qatar will continue to support the peoples of the region and the governments that listen to the demands of their people.
Qatar is currently providing development assistance to more than 100 countries, he added.
"Qatar is one of the world leaders in LNG and we have seen this progressing for over 20 years. Qatar now is supplying 25% of the LNG of the world, and we are very proud of this progress. In order to have a sustainable growth and sustainable development for our country, we have to diversify our economy away from the LNG, which a part of our National Vision 2030."
HE the Minister of Foreign Affairs stressed that even with the expansion and progress that Qatar is going to have in the next few years in LNG production, "this should not affect our growth from being driven by either sector. We are focusing on our international investments, focusing on attracting foreign investments to Qatar and we are focusing on developing and encouraging private sector to nurture in Qatar, and we provide then with the right environment".
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