* Amir participates in opening session of World Economic Forum in Davos
* Amir’s speech focuses on economic challenges, energy, environment, diplomacy, Ukraine crisis and Palestine
The 2022 edition of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar will be a special one, His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani stressed at the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Monday.
His Highness the Amir participated in the opening session of the WEF, which is being held in Davos under the theme ‘History at a Turning Point: Government Policies and Business Strategies’.
He delivered a speech at the opening session, in which he referred to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, economic challenges and geopolitical turmoil in the world, the Ukraine crisis, Palestine and the killing of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, Afghanistan, the environment, energy and other issues.
According to a transcript provided by the official Qatar News Agency, His Highness said in his speech: “As most of you know, for the first time in the Middle East, Qatar will be hosting the FIFA World Cup later this year. We are working hard, so this major sport event can allow our entire region the chance to host the world. For decades now, the Middle East has suffered from discrimination, and I have found out that such discrimination is largely based on people not knowing us, and in some cases, refusing to get to know us.”
“Even today, there are still people who cannot accept the idea that an Arab Muslim country would host a tournament like the World Cup. These individuals, including many in positions of influence, have launched attacks, at a pace never seen before, when a mega-sporting event was hosted by other countries on different continents, despite the fact that each of those countries has its own particular problems and challenges. Qatar is just like your own country - not perfect, constantly trying to improve, and full of hope for a brighter future,” he said while addressing the gathering.
“We are so proud of the development, reform and progress we have made, and we are grateful for the spotlight that the World Cup provided, which inspired us to make these changes at a lightning speed,” he continued. “I assure everyone listening, that this edition of the World Cup will be a special one. We believe that sport is a tool for positive change, promotes tolerance and respect, empowers youth and inspires unity. We stand by that belief, and I hope you will join us to discover the beautiful game, as it is played in our country.”
“Our common interest, our common responsibility and the common destiny of all humanity requires partnership. So we can all live together in peace,” he added.
His Highness the Amir noted that the current session of the World Economic Forum is of exceptional importance, as it is happening in the midst of economic challenges and geopolitical turmoil.
“Before we can hope for economic prosperity, we must first examine, repair and enforce our framework for peace. And we need to send a reassuring message to people around the world: only through unity we can overcome the conflict that divides us. I can tell you that after years of peace facilitation through mediation, we can never give up hope. We should never give up, trying to bring parties together. As long as we believe our efforts, could save even a single life, our attempts to mediate will be worth it. Our united efforts need to be based on the principles already agreed on: in the Charter of the United Nations, international law, and respecting each other’s sovereignty,” His Highness said.
“In recent decades, we have witnessed the marginalisation of the role of the United Nations, the transgression of the rule of law in international relations, and the breakdown of basic respect for one another’s independence,” he added.
His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani took part in a panel discussion on the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, titled ‘Sport as a Unifying Force’, at the World Economic Forum in Davos yesterday afternoon.
His Highness the Amir noted that “solving dispute through aggression is on the rise, and it has reached one of its worst peaks, in the war here in Europe. We are in touch with all parties concerned in the Ukrainian crisis, and I am ready, to contribute to every international and regional effort, to find an immediate, peaceful solution to the conflict between the Russian Federation and Ukraine.”
He continued, “Qatar firmly rejects the aggression on the sovereignty of states, and any act that would constitute a violation of international law. We stand in solidarity with the millions of innocent refugees who are victims of this European war, and with the victims, of all the other wars taking place, right now. Victims of every race, nationality and religion. I want us to help all of them.”
“As we rightly apply laser-focus to find a diplomatic solution to the Ukrainian crisis, I hope we can equally give as much attention and effort to resolving all those forgotten or ignored conflicts. They all deserve peace, security and dignity,” he said.
The most glaring example is in Palestine, which has been an open wound since the establishment of the United Nations, His Highness said. “Those families have been occupied for decades, with no relief in sight. The escalation in illegal settlement aggression has been relentless, and the same goes for the continual attacks against the Palestinian people. I keep praying that the world wakes up to the injustice and violence, and finally acts.”
“Shireen Abu Akleh, a Christian Palestinian-American journalist, was killed two weeks ago in Palestine, and then robbed of a dignified burial. Shireen was covering the suffering of the Palestinian people for decades, and our hearts are broken,” he said.
“Her death was just as horrific as the seven journalists killed in Ukraine since March this year... and the 18 other journalists killed in Palestine since 2000, and the many other journalists killed in the line of duty in Iraq, Syria and Yemen.
“In the 21st century, we should not tolerate these aggressions. And we should not accept a world where governments have double standards about the value of people, based on their religion, region or race. We consider the value of each European life to be just as precious as someone from our region.”
As a small state, maintaining regional and international, peace and security constitutes a special priority for Qatar, His Highness said. “We work tirelessly to help manage, solve and mitigate conflicts, including our ongoing efforts in Afghanistan. We were honoured to be able to help with the evacuation efforts in Afghanistan. And it was only possible thanks to the years spent investing in peace-keeping: expert mediation, state-of-the-art military and special forces, search-and-rescue teams ranked as some of the best in the world, and the countless hours of sweat and tears from so many. All those years of investment, training and building strategic partnerships paid off... at a time when we were needed to step in and rescue people. I am so grateful for all your sacrifices.”
His Highness said he also considers protecting the environment “to be a responsibility for all of us”.
He said, “Qatar has placed sustainability front and centre and focus our resources to develop emission-reduction technologies and cleaner energy. We intend to play an active role in encouraging regional and international policy development, surrounding both energy and the environment. We have all seen over the past months what happens when we don’t work together. At this critical moment in time, we must wisely balance the need to take care of the environment and simultaneously provide energy security for the world.
“This will take co-ordination and intense collaboration between all governments, companies, stakeholders and every one of us. Because every single one of us needs energy and right now, almost 1bn people are still without a reliable energy source.”
“As one of the largest producers of liquefied natural gas in the world, Qatar invested in LNG expansion efforts for years, understanding that LNG is a critical base-load energy source needed during the transition, which is already taking place. Increased LNG production can provide the world with cleaner, safer, more reliable and flexible energy. Achieving global energy security will lead to market stability and reduce the economic effects of the current energy crisis.”
During the session, His Highness the Amir answered a question from the executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, Professor Klaus Schwab, on how Qatar balances its ties with both the United States and China. Schwab noted that US President Biden designated Qatar as a major non-Nato ally. His Highness the Amir said Qatar enjoys a very strong and strategic partnership with the US, noting that this designation was a recognition of the role of Qatar in the Middle East and around the world.
On ties with China, His Highness said he visited China during the Beijing Winter Olympics recently and had the chance to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping following an invitation from the latter, describing ties with China as strong, particularly in the economic fields. His Highness added that strong ties with both sides confirm Qatar’s efforts to facilitate peace.
On Qatar’s international efforts, His Highness the Amir said Qatar has different activities on different fronts, whether in education, creating jobs and countering terrorism. He said the best way to resolve disputes is by having a dialogue, and referenced what was done in Afghanistan, affirming that Qatar encourages Iran and the international community to negotiate and reach an agreement.
In another question about the energy crisis in Europe, His Highness the Amir said the energy crisis existed for years, noting that Qatar as an energy producer and investor is using the most modern technology to limit emissions and conserve the environment while supplying the international partners around the world.
On Qatar’s international diplomacy and its priorities in that regard, His Highness expressed his gratitude for the trust put in Qatar, highlighting the country’s track record of being honest and bringing people together. He stressed that what distinguishes Qatar is that it does not give up even if negotiations were difficult, adding that Qatar, despite being a small country, plays the mediator role to establish peace.
His Highness the Amir said Qatar’s role is to facilitate peace talks and supply the market with energy, given its status as an honest and trusted country by everyone, and making all efforts in that regard. He stressed that Qatar will spare no efforts to maintain its approach based on finding peaceful solutions to different conflicts.
Professor Schwab welcomed His Highness the Amir in the opening session and his participation, praising the strong co-operation between Qatar and the forum. He noted that Qatar has become a major force in global affairs by enhancing its ties with the region and the world’s countries, and negotiating on many issues. He noted that everyone now looks to Qatar when it comes to mediation due to its ties, expressing appreciation for Qatar’s efforts in many fields, including energy, education and sports.
The opening session was attended by a number of ministers, heads of state delegations and ranking political and economic officials, as well as experts and CEOs of many international companies, and the participating delegations.
* Amir leaves Switzerland
Last updated: May 24 2022 01:13 AM
His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani left the city of St Gallen in Switzerland on Monday evening after taking part in the World Economic Forum in Davos. He was accompanied by an official delegation. (QNA)