Paris - Information Office - June 07 - 2020
HE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdelrahman Al-Thani has affirmed that the State of Qatar is steadfast in its position of openness to dialogue and finding long-term solution to the irrational Gulf Crisis as long as it does not infringe on the sovereignty of Qatar and does not violate international law.
His Excellency stressed that the blockade of Qatar had damaged the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which is still "paralyzed", pointing that political disputes prevail over the needs of GCC peoples, as the blockade mentality is stronger.
In an interview with 'Le Monde', HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani pointed to the three-year long efforts to solve the crises saying: "Unfortunately, the efforts of the past year have not worked, although there has been progress. It seems that the other side did not want to engage in real negotiations. However, mediation efforts by the Emir of Kuwait and the United States continue".
His Excellency went on saying: "We remain ready to discuss a long-term solution, as long as it does not infringe on our sovereignty and does not violate international law. But it must be understood that this crisis was manufactured from scratch, with a smear and propaganda campaign against Qatar, which had no justification and continues to this day."
On the US efforts to resolve the air aspect of the crisis, by pushing Saudi Arabia and the UAE to reopen their skies on Qatar Airways aircraft, HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs said: "No progress has been made yet. But we remain in close contact with the Americans. This story has been illegal from the start. Our case is before the International Criminal Court and the International Civil Aviation Organization and we hope to recover our airspace."
Responding to a question on whether the GCC could overcome the divisions of its members to help them cope with the post-COVID-19 economic crisis, His Excellency said: " The blockade of Qatar damaged the GCC. We hoped that in this period of global crisis, wisdom would prevail and that the challenges we faced would revive regional cooperation. Unfortunately, the GCC remains paralyzed. During the pandemic, a meeting of the health ministers of its member countries was organized in Riyadh. Unfortunately, our minister was not allowed to fly to Riyadh until the meeting ended. This shows a lack of seriousness to deal with the crisis. Political disputes prevail over the needs of our peoples. The blockade mentality is stronger.
On Qatar's position regarding the global debate on COVID-19 and what must be changed so that a similar health crisis does not happen, HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said: " No country can feel safe anymore, this is the novelty. Previous epidemics, like those of SARS and Ebola, had not really spread to regions other than those in which they had emerged. But the COVID-19 pandemic has reached all of us. So the first lesson from this crisis is that every country in the world needs a strong, resilient health system that can cope. Second, there is a need to strengthen multilateralism and international cooperation, to ensure that countries have a unified platform for exchanging views and experience. Finally, we must guarantee the protection of supply chains, so that we can meet our domestic needs, but also the needs of other countries."
Responding to a question on the lessons that can be learned from the fiasco of retired general Khalifa Haftar, who has just lost the battle of Tripoli, against the forces of Libya's Government of National Accord, His Excellency said; "We say, since the Skhirat agreement in 2015, that the conflict in Libya must be resolved by a political process and not by coups and military aggression. Haftar has always preferred violence. He is only interested in the political process when he loses a round, only to come back in force. If there is a lesson to be learned, it is that the international community must comply with the political process, within the framework of international law and UN resolutions. Doing so would have saved many Libyan lives and saved the country's significant resources."
With regard to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's intention to announce the annexation of part of the West Bank in July, HE The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs reiterated the State of Qatar's rejection of the move, saying: " We reject this move, which amounts to planting the last nail in the coffin of the peace process. The annexation of these territories will bury any possibility of settling the conflict in the future. The security, economic and social implications will be catastrophic for the entire region. Many states share this position. But the reality is that we do not see agreement among the international community on how to enforce this position. It is something as old as the Israeli occupation."
On what can be done to preserve the historic peace agreement between the United States and the Afghan Taliban, signed in Doha last February, from collapse, after several attacks took place in Afghanistan, HE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said: "There is no collapse. This agreement has always been seen as a first step. True peace will only come when the Afghanistan government on the one side and the Taliban on the other speak together. We hope that this inter-Afghan dialogue will start soon.