Tuesday, 29 September 2020

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Interview
10 Jun 2020

‘Kuwaiti efforts to resolve the Gulf crisis continues’

Foreign Affairs News Desk
Foreign Affairs News Desk
Qatari Assistant Foreign Minister and Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Lolwah R M Al-Khater/mofa
Qatari Assistant Foreign Minister and Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Lolwah R M Al-Khater/mofa

Qatari Assistant Foreign Minister and Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Lolwah R M Al-Khater affirmed the continuation of Kuwaiti efforts to resolve the Gulf crisis, reiterating Qatar’s position, which is always welcome to bridge the rift, as long as this is within the framework of mutual respect between countries and within the framework of international legitimacy.  

Ms. Al-Khater said in response to questions for “Alaraby Aljadeed “newspaper being published from London sent via email (because of the precautionary measures taken to due to Corona pandemic) said that ” countries of the blockade that caused the crisis continues to create more other crises perhaps because they believed the instability they created wasn’t faced strictly by The international community.”

Qatari Assistant Foreign Minister and Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Lolwah R M Al-Khater/qatarday.com

While Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Al-Khater did not disclose the content of what was carried by the Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Ahmed bin Nasser Al-Muhammad Al-Sabah during his recent visit to Qatar, within the framework of Kuwaiti mediation to resolve the Gulf crisis, however Al-Khater reiterated the State of Qatar’s adherence to the conditional dialogue on certain foundations and pillars to solve the Gulf crisis, the most important of which is mutual respect that preserves the sovereignty of states and ensures that independence of decisions is not infringed.

Spokesperson Al-Khater also denied again the desire of the State of Qatar to withdraw from the Gulf Cooperation Council and said that ” talking about any withdrawal of the State of Qatar from the Gulf Cooperation Council is just rumors circulated recently by people, perhaps because there is a state of restlessness on the popular level of the feasibility and effectiveness of the organs of the Gulf Cooperation Council with regard to the continuation of the crisis Gulf and entering its fourth year.”  

The following is a transcript of the interview conducted by the Alaraby Aljadeed newspaper with Qatari official:

“Al-Araby Al-Jadeed” an Arabic language newspaper being published from London of UK

Gulf crisis enters its fourth year has it become an inevitable reality?

Spokesperson: Since the beginning of the crisis, the State of Qatar indicated that the blockading countries are trying to normalize this crisis and make the current situation and its consequences from separating joint families and obstructing and preventing Qataris to do Hajj and Umrah and other unlawful practices, as a normal and natural matter, but the same countries that caused the crisis continue to create more Other crises, perhaps because they believe that the instability they created was not faced strictly by the international community, and despite the fact that the crisis is a reality we live in, the State of Qatar has overcome its consequences on many levels, and what remains of concern to us is the rupture of the Gulf social fabric and the repercussions of the crisis on the collective security of the region.

It is known that a dialogue held between Qatar and Saudi Arabia to resolve the crisis, ended suddenly at the beginning of this year from the Saudi side. What is the point at which the dialogue has stopped? Are there results achieved?

Spokesperson: As you know, the State of Qatar has always called for dialogue to resolve this crisis. Dialogue is an integral part of the State of Qatar’s diplomacy and the approach it follows. It is the country that managed to achieve an agreement to bring peace to Afghanistan, which we hope will be a beginning on the right path for the brotherly Afghan people. Is it rational that we work to solve the problems of other countries through diplomatic channels, and then do not adopt this approach to maintain the unity of the Gulf Cooperation Council? But it must also be said that this dialogue is conditional on certain foundations and pillars, the most important of which is mutual respect that preserves the sovereignty of states and ensures that there is no infringement on the independence of decisions. It is worth noting that stopping the dialogue was not from our side and today there are appreciated efforts from the State of Kuwait, and our response, as before was positive in the direction of returning to the path of dialogue in accordance with a set of principles that the State of Qatar has affirmed on more than one occasion. 

There has been circulation of information recently about the desire of the blockading countries to reach a solution to the Gulf crisis, has any contact been made with Doha on this matter?

Spokesperson: Yes, there was a visit by the Kuwaiti Minister of Foreign Affairs to the State of Qatar in the month of Ramadan, during which he conveyed the continuous efforts of the Amir of the state of Kuwait to resolve the crisis, and views were exchanged between officials in this framework, and we affirmed our always welcome position to heal the rift as long as this was within the framework of mutual respect between States, and within the framework of international legitimacy.

The Kuwaiti Foreign Minister in the month of May of this visit Doha, does this visit indicate the resumption of Kuwaiti mediation efforts on resolving the Gulf crisis?

Spokesperson: The state of Kuwait has spared no effort since the first day of the Gulf crisis in an attempt to resolve this crisis and bring views closer, and we communicate with the state of Kuwait in this regard, and cooperation and coordination are ongoing and have never been interrupted.

 In this context, we affirm that the State of Qatar responded every time when there was an initiative or invitation from His Highness the Emir of the State of Kuwait, and at all levels, even at the people’s level, as we will not forget the call of His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad from the heart of the National Assembly to a commitment The ethical approach to the speech, so the response of the State of Qatar was immediate through a number of official statements that emphasized this approach.

What is new that the Kuwaiti minister carried regarding ending the Gulf crisis? What is the nature of the Qatari response to it?

Spokesperson: Kuwait’s unremitting efforts from the beginning were always looking for common spaces and this is not specifically related to this visit. On the one hand, the State of Qatar has always been linked to the supreme interest of the region as a whole, and to the security of its peoples, and we have repeatedly stressed during the past three years that all these differences can be solved through channels and building on common areas without violating international and regional laws and customs, and the privacy and sovereignty of each country, and the State of Qatar remains welcome in the endeavors of dialogue within these frameworks.

Is one of the options for Qatar to withdraw from the Gulf Cooperation Council to close the file of the Gulf crisis? Did Qatar really choose this option?

Spokesperson: Talking about any withdrawal of the State of Qatar from the Gulf Cooperation Council is just rumors circulated recently by people, perhaps because there is a state of restlessness at the popular level regarding the feasibility and effectiveness of the organs of the Gulf Cooperation Council regarding the continuation of the Gulf crisis and its entry into the fourth year, there is no doubt that activating the role of the Gulf Cooperation Council is a necessity that is not only Gulf but regional, but this activation requires looking at the challenges facing the Council seriously, honestly and aware of the critical historical stage the region is going through, and a good note is the technical cooperation that is currently present in the crisis of Corona-(Covid 19-) between the ministries of health in the GCC countries . In this context, we commend the statement of the Secretary of the Gulf Cooperation Council that the Council faces unprecedented challenges that require collective thinking and joint action.

Has a crisis being solved in the social aspect and the extended family relations between the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council?

Spokesperson: This crisis has torn apart the ties of extended Gulf families, making it difficult and even almost impossible for family members to communicate with each other as before. Traditionally, Qataris traveled on holidays to greet their families and vice versa, but this has become almost impossible with the current situation

 In addition, the inflammatory media discourse greatly violated this social structure, so we fear that the new generation, which has not experienced moments of cooperation between the GCC states, will forget what the historical, religious and social unity among the people of the region means.

Here, we affirm that we are continuing the approach and directions of His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, which has always emphasized authentic Islamic and Arab values ​​and principles and not to focus only on the issues of the homeland, but rather support all just Arab, Islamic and humanitarian issues.

Are there Qataris detainees in custody on the background of the crisis in any of the countries of the blockade?

Spokesperson: There are many reports of the National Commission for Human Rights in the State of Qatar showing various violations, the most recent of which was the report issued recently on the third anniversary of the blockade .We also recall the report of the technical committee of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in which it monitored all violations and confirmed that the nature of the measures taken was not limited to the government in the State of Qatar, but rather systematically affected its citizens.

What about the cases that the State of Qatar has submitted to courts against the blockading countries and the demands of compensation for the damages resulting from the blockade … Is there anything new in this regard?

Spokesperson: There are a number of pending cases in several international bodies, some of them representing the State of Qatar and some of them representing private actors affected in the State of Qatar, for example, the crime of piracy on ” beIN Sports” channels, in addition to thousands of people affected economically as a result of preventing them from accessing their property and their rights in the countries concerned .According to the National Human Rights Committee in the State of Qatar, there are about 10 thousand cases related to compensation and more than 4000 cases that were brought before international jurisdiction . In this context, we recall that the International Court of Justice approved in July 2018 the requests of the State of Qatar to implement a number of interim measures, such as the right to litigate and to restore family links and to allow students to enter the UAE until the decision of the case brought by the State of Qatar. This is an implicit acknowledgment of the occurrence of such violations against Qatari citizens, especially since the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has documented many violations in its report on the Gulf crisis, and the State of Qatar continues to follow the legal path before international organizations and bodies to restore the rights of Qatari citizens affected by the procedures of the blockading countries, believing in international laws, conventions and international treaties to which the State of Qatar is committed and bound by.

 How would you describe the ongoing (electronic flies) attacks on Qatar on social media, which almost never stop, and what messages do the blockade countries want to deliver? 

Spokesperson: Most people have taken good notice that this cyberspace will constitute an alternative space for people of opinion, thought, and people away from the influence of governments, transcontinental companies, and capital that only reflects material values ​​and does not necessarily reflect today’s human challenges, but this matter took a new turn not only in the crisis The Gulf, though one of its heights, but in many other regions in the world. We began to see the manipulation of public opinion through electronic armies and the transmission of falsehood as a fact, and the artificial and poisoned values ​​as an organic and natural product of society while millions of dollars are paid behind it for some companies that specialized in directing public opinion and not reflecting the facts as they are.

It is remarkable that what happened in the crisis of the exploitation of electronic flies and cyber intrusion backed by the crisis countries, has appeared on the first pages of the world media, as it overlapped with a number of political files in those countries. The reader also does not miss that ” Facebook and Twitter ” both announced the closure of thousands of accounts belonging to these countries, and despite all these attempts to overturn the facts, but it does not go beyond being a distraction to the people from what is more important or covering other problems. On the other hand, these cyber-attacks are a trick for the weak when they cannot use logic or etiquette of dialogue. 

Are there indicators that this year may witness solution of the Gulf crisis or whether it is still too early to confirm that?

Spokesperson: The endeavors remain, and if there is a new thing in the matter, it will be announced in due course.

We have not felt any cooperation between the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in the Corona virus crisis, with the exception of a meeting of health ministers in the Gulf states that banned the Minister of Public Health of the State of Qatar from attending, and other remote meetings that Gulf citizens has not felt their results, is the role of the GCC is over?

Spokesperson: Although the existing technical cooperation in the Corona crisis could have reached more effective horizons, we do not want to reduce these existing efforts especially that some technical committees continue to coordinate at different levels, for example meetings and coordination between ministries of labor the State of Qatar will never be a reason to block any of these efforts or attempts to politicize it, and this is what we hope to see from others.

Qatar provides assistance to many countries to cope with the outbreak of the Corona virus, and this assistance has been appreciated by these countries . How large was this aid and how many countries were sent to it, and what messages did Qatar want through the provision of this aid?

Spokesperson: In implementation of the directives of His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Amir of the country may God protect him and the belief of the State of Qatar in the global responsibility and obligations the State of Qatar was quick to provide urgent medical assistance that countries and their medical teams need, in order to contain and control an outbreak Corona virus pandemic, and the Qatar Development Fund has provided this urgent medical assistance to 21 brotherly and friendly countries. The volume of this support amounted to about 200 tons transported by Qatar Airways, which in turn transported more than 1.8 million people stuck due to the closure of most of the world’s airports to their home countries. Airlines also offered 100 thousand free ticket to health workers around the world and an estimated 30% discount to medical shipments and humanitarian supplies for anyone who wants the transfer of such materials. It is worth noting that the State of Qatar has donated two field hospitals to the Republic of Italy. As there exists cooperation with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as well as UK   for the transfer of medical supplies and humanitarian to a number of needy countries. One of the paradoxes in this context is that the State of Qatar is making all these efforts and fly the world to provide relief to different countries at a time when the blockading countries have tried to isolate it and impose restrictions on its airspace. It is worth noting that these restrictions have already prolonged these trips and increased their costs. Would it not have been more beneficial for the crisis countries to cooperate with us to support these efforts instead of restricting them? The State of Qatar does not live in isolation from the rest of the world, as we believe that the responsibility lies with all of us, especially in times of crisis, and therefore it is important to make all possible efforts to reduce the consequences of crises and their negative impact on countries and peoples.

How do you see international relations after the Corona pandemic crisis, and do we need in the Arab countries and the Gulf Cooperation Council a new approach in this regard?

Spokesperson: The whole world after the Corona virus is not the same as before, and this includes the Gulf Cooperation Council, but it is still too early to say for sure what these changes are. In general, the State of Qatar has repeatedly called for the need to reconsider the system of joint Arab action and the importance of a political contract and a new security perception that lays down a set of constants and lays definitions of important questions, foremost of which is the concept of risk and what are the threats that continue to pervert in the structure of the Arab state collective level.

As for the level of international relations, this pandemic revealed the structural problems of the international system and multilateral organizations, which were always emphasized by His Highness the Amir of the State of Qatar in his recent speeches to the United Nations General Assembly, and despite the skepticism of many in the effectiveness of multilateral action, the current crisis has demonstrated that the nature of our modern and interconnected world in its systems necessitates the existence of this joint collective action, as one part of the world cannot survive this pandemic without the other part, and the question remains : How can we turn this ordeal  into a grant that will cause us to restructure this global system in the interest of humanity?

(This interview portion was received from the Embassy of the State of Qatar in Kathmandu and reprinted for the interest of general people for the information with due credit)

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