Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani has reiterated that Qatar’s foreign policy is based on the principle of cooperation and international peace.
Speaking during a session at Chatham House on Qatar’s regional and international roleon Wednesday, the FM said, “Qatar’s foreign policy is based on the principle of cooperation and international peace. We do this through developmental aid, counter-terrorism efforts, and humanitarian assistance seen recently in Afghanistan.”
The FM called for concerted global efforts and consensus to support the suffering Afghans. “Qatar cannot unilaterally fix Afghan economy. There is a need for international efforts and consensus to support Afghans suffering at present. Also engagement with Taliban is important but it should be seen as a process and journey,” the FM said.
“On the Taliban, we want the frozen financial assets to go to the Afghan people. We are working closely with Europe and the US, we don’t want the Afghan people suffer just because the Taliban are disliked internationally,” he added.
On relations with the US, the FM said, “Relations between the US and Qatar are very strong. We have cooperation on defence. We have hosted the dialogue with Taliban and supported the evacuation from Kabul. Qatari bases served as the headquarters in the campaign against ISIL.”
“The relationship with the US is built on strong institutional connections regardless of administration. During the Trump administration we worked closely during the GCC crisis, the Taliban negotiations and the Abraham Accords,” he added.
The FM said Qatar is looking forward to welcome all for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
“As we approach the 2022 World Cup, it is a privilege to host the first World Cup in the Middle East and in an Arab country. I look forward to welcoming you all in November to cheer your teams,” he said.
Regarding the current energy crisis, he said, “Qatar is a major exporter of LNG. We are looking to expand our capacity of production and are working to build a long-term plan for further supplies of gas to Europe.”
“China is one of our largest consumers of gas. The Gulf region doesn’t want to choose between the US and China, we have a strong security relationship with Washington and a growing economic relationship with Beijing,” the FM added.
On conflicts in Middle East, he said, “It’s unfortunate that there is no Arab leadership in conflict areas in the Middle East. We need a comprehensive dialogue with the non-Arab states like Iran and Turkey. In Iraq, Yemen, and Palestine, we need to consider Arab interests.”
“During the GCC crisis, the organisation was paralysed. However, on Afghanistan we saw action by the GCC, with meetings with the Taliban. We are restarting trade talks. There is a momentum to strengthen the GCC after years of crisis,” he pointed out.
The FM said, “On Israel-Palestine, mediation is the core principal of Qatar’s foreign policy. We are helping the Palestinian people, especially in Gaza. We need the Israelis to come to the table and secure a two-state solution through a peace process.”
On Hamas, he said, “We don’t support Hamas, we support the people. Many Arab countries don’t list them as a terrorist organisation as they are under occupation and are a component of Palestinian society. We condemn all attacks on civillians.”
On Syria, he said, “We are clear. Syria remains suspended from the Arab League because the regime is attacking the Syrian people and bombing cities. It would be a mistake to normalise ties with the Syrian regime without a humanitarian solution.”