Doha / Information Office / August 30
HE Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani reiterated that the State of Qatar welcomes any effort aiming at supporting the mediation process undertaken by HH the Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to resolve the current Gulf crisis, adding that Qatar also welcomes the Russian efforts and the Russian position in this direction.
In a joint press conference with HE Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov on Wednesday, HE the Foreign Minister underlined that the State of Qatar is still firm on its belief that this crisis can only be resolved through a constructive dialogue that help reach a settlement to the issue through international obligations on all States, not by dictates or by submitting lists of demands that breach Qatar's sovereignty or the international law which the siege countries claim to respect.
"Unfortunately, we have seen nothing but the opposite, and it is very clear that the siege countries have so far failed to provide any evidence in this crisis, which was based on a hacking that involved those countries themselves," HE the Foreign Minister said.
HE the Foreign Minister said that he briefed his Russian counterpart during their talks today on the Kuwaiti initiative and mediation to resolve the Gulf crisis, and the letters sent by HH the Emir of Kuwait to all the parties, which called for dialogue directly and unconditionally. He noted that the State of Qatar was the only country to respond to the Kuwaiti letter after a few days, in the contrary, non of the siege countries responded, in continuation of their approach of not responding and ignoring any mediation efforts, whether from Kuwait or any other friendly country, referring in this regard to the visits of the US Secretary of State's envoys who presented some proposals that were also ignored by the siege countries.
Such an approach adopted by the siege countries shows their intentions to continue the crisis and siege, and then invoke the Kuwaiti mediation when encouraged by any of the friendly countries to engage in dialogue to resolve the crisis. Meanwhile, these countries accuse everyone who encourages dialogue to internationalize the crisis, the Foreign Minister underlined.
HE the Foreign Minister reiterated that the State of Qatar welcomes all the efforts of friendly countries that support the Kuwaiti mediation, and any effort to find a solution to this crisis, which should be unconditional.
HE the Foreign Minister noted that the siege countries, which set the conditions for dialogue, think that dialogue is the main target for Qatar, while the real goal is lifting the unjust and illegal siege on Qatar and find a solution to the crisis that ensures the safety and security of Qatar and all the GCC countries.
HE the Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani described his talks with HE Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov as fruitful, noting the HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani met the Russian Foreign Minister and discussed ways of enhancing the relations between the two friendly countries.
He noted that the talks also touched upon the Russian position on the Gulf crisis and the need to end it as soon as possible, and the need to preserve the unity of the Gulf Cooperation Council and support the efforts exerted by HH the Emir of Kuwait in this regard. He stressed that the State of Qatar welcomes these efforts and expresses thanks to Russian President Vladimir Putin for his country's position on this crisis.
HE the Foreign Minister said that he briefed the Russian Foreign Minister on the latest developments in the Gulf crisis, which, despite passing nearly 90 days, are still in place. Meanwhile, the Russian Foreign Minister briefed HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani on the outcome of his visit to Kuwait which is leading the mediation supported by Russia.
HE the Foreign Minister that talks during the meeting today also dealt with the importance of strengthening the bilateral relations between the two countries, especially in the fields of energy, and increasing trade exchange, economic cooperation and joint investments.
He noted that there is a common factor between Qatar and Russia which is the organization of the World Cup. Russia hosts the 2018 World Cup and Qatar hosts the 2022 World Cup. There is an ongoing cooperation and dialogue between the two countries regarding the organization of this World Championship, the Foreign Minister said, expressing confidence that both events will be successful championships.
The meeting also touched on the Qatari-Russian cultural year in 2018. HE the Foreign Minister expressed Qatar's aspiration to host more Russian events and to organize more Qatari events in Russia.
Moreover, talks during the meetings also reviewed the outcome of the recent visit of HE the Minister of State for Defense Affairs to Russia, where it was agreed to promote cooperation in the field of exchanging experience in the defense sector, the Foreign Minister added.
He highlighted that the most important part of the Qatari-Russian talks today focused on the necessity of continuing the political consultations between the two countries, especially with regard to the regional issues, mainly the Palestinian issue, the peace process, the Palestinian reconciliation and the Russian efforts which are appreciated by the State of Qatar.
He noted that the two sides discussed the peace process in the Middle East, and stressed the importance of the two-state solution. He stated that Qatar's position is clear in this regard and that it support the Arab initiative to be the basis of the peace plan between the Palestinians and Israelis.
On the other hand, HE the Foreign Minister noted that the talks also provided opportunity to discuss the situation and the latest developments in Libya. He stressed Qatar's support for the Skhirat Agreement and to the national reconciliation government in Libya, noting that Russia is engaged in talks and dialogue with all Libyan parties and expressed hope that this would contribute to restoring stability in Libya as soon as possible.
The talks also tackled the developments in Iraq and the war against the ISIS. HE the Foreign Minister said. The two sides affirmed their support to the Iraqi government in its reconstruction efforts in the war-ravaged areas.
HE the Foreign Minister added that they had also discussed the Syrian crisis and the suffering of the Syrian people in the past six years. He praised the Russian efforts in support of the international efforts to cease fire in Syria and the establishment of safe areas. HE the underlined that the State of Qatar supports any effort to restore stability in those areas and reduce tension.
He went on saying that the talks reviewed the options of the political process in Syria, including the dialogue and the process led by the UN envoy Stephane de Mistura, and the efforts to unite the opposition to launch a dialogue between them and the Syrian regime. In this regard, HE the Foreign Minister stressed Qatar's position in support of the political transition process in accordance with the Geneva 1 Declaration, taking into account the importance of preserving the territorial integrity of Syria and the independence of the Syrian state. He said that the State of Qatar supports any solution that ensures justice to the Syrian people.
Commenting on the statements made by the UAE ambassador in Washington, in which he said that the siege countries have no objection to dialogue without preconditions, HE the Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani wondered why is there no call for dialogue by the siege countries if that is true? adding: "we do not always take the statements of the siege countries seriously because there are a lot of contradictions".
HE the Foreign Minister recalled several attempt to hold an unconditional dialogue by mediators and most recently by HH the Emir of Kuwait. The siege countries did not responded to those calls for dialogue and set conditions each time they were invited to talk. The State of Qatar has expressed its desire to resolve the crisis through dialogue more than 12 times, and to reach a settlement that respects the sovereignty of States and the international law, based on mutual and collective commitments.
Those statements are baseless unless the siege countries show respect to the Kuwaiti mediator and the response to his proposals, the Foreign Minister underlined.
He added that the State of Qatar aims to lift the siege imposed on the Qatari people and to settle the crisis not only dialogue, saying: "Today, after three months of crisis, the problem of the siege countries has become with the Qatari people and not only with the government of Qatar".
He noted that the siege countries took illegal actions against the people of Qatar in the month of Ramadan and without justification to initiate these measures. That means that there is a problem and a major crisis that must be resolved by searching for the real causes of this crisis and its effects on the Qatari people.
HE the Foreign Minister underlined that the State of Qatar has spared no effort since the beginning of the crisis, as it moved in all international organizations to force the siege countries to retreat from their illegal measures against Qatar. "As for their sovereignty, as they claim, this is a matter for them," he said.
The Foreign Minister underlined that violating the sovereignty of the State of Qatar and the international law in this regard is unacceptable, saying that the international organizations are doing their work and that the movements have led to results with regard to the sea, aviation, humanitarian cases and other illegal measures.
He expressed great confidence that the State of Qatar's pursuit of justice through clear official channels will achieve the desired results, while noting that these results will widen the gap between the Qatari people and the governments of the siege countries.
Speaking about the consequences of the siege, HE the Foreign Minister said that the real impact of the siege on the State of Qatar was on the humanitarian field after the measures of the siege countries led to the separation of families, the removal of students from universities and the removal of businessmen from their investments. He noted that the direct effects of the siege were in the first days when the State incurred some additional cost to ensure the arrival of goods to the Qatari market so that the people is not affected by the lack of consumer goods.
However, the siege motivated businessmen to seek alternatives and provide broad options in the country. "Today there are broad alternatives and consumer choices in Qatar that have yielded positive results as we witness diversification in the Qatari market and openness to the global markets," HE the Foreign Minister said, stressing that the State of Qatar invests in any challenge to create new opportunities that contribute positively to the development process.
"We realized that the State of Qatar must be self-reliant on food security and on matters related to its economy. The State of Qatar has been and continues to be an important platform for a free and open economy, and the crisis has shown its respect for international contracts, charters and international law," HE the Foreign Minister underlined.
HE the Foreign Minister affirmed that gas contracts were not affected by the crisis, and this is the biggest proof that Qatar is a reliable partner in supplying the world with energy. Qatar is a major energy source in the world, and it does not use this as a tool for political pressure, unlike the siege countries that claim to be open markets but prevented the flight and the supply of goods.
The investors have greater confidence in the State of Qatar and its economy and its attractive legal environment to investment. This openness has been a political will in Qatar from the beginning, HE the Foreign Minister underlined.
For his part, HE Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov said that his talks in Doha dealt with the Gulf crisis, the peace process in the Middle East and the situation in Libya, Syria and Iraq.
The Russian Foreign Minister stressed the need to find solutions to the Gulf crisis on the basis of reaching consensus and positions acceptable to all, and rejecting the offensive and useless speeches and searching for a compromise, stressing Russia's support for the Kuwaiti mediation, and its readiness to contribute to any effort in this regard.
He underlined that Russia is keen on preserving the unity and strength of the Gulf Cooperation Council to be able to find solutions to other problems in the region that are already aggravated and do not need new problems. He indicated in this regard that Russia is not a mediator in the Gulf crisis, but supports the Kuwaiti mediation, stressing that the solution to the crisis must be reached within the framework of the GCC.
He added that there are American efforts in this context and proposals made by the US Secretary of State, and there are a sufficient number of proposals to the launch a dialogue between all parties in the Gulf crisis. Russia are not raising any new ideas different from the Kuwaiti mediation and the US efforts in this regard.
He underlined that Russia will continue its contact with all parties in the framework of coordination, noting that he will visit Saudi Arabia and Jordan early next month.
The Russian Foreign Minister said that that his talks in Doha touched upon the pressing regional issues in the region, including Syria, Libya and Iraq. He stressed that the Qatari and Russian sides have a common position on all these issues, which calls for resolving these crises on the basis of dialogue only and involving all national and sectarian forces away from foreign influence.
"We are grateful to the State of Qatar for its praise of the Russian role in promoting the idea of reducing the escalation in Syria, which will create favorable conditions for the development of political dialogue," he said.
On the Palestinian issue, the Russian foreign minister said that his country is concerned about the impasse in the Palestinian-Israeli settlement, stressing the need to find solutions through direct dialogue and on the basis of the Arab peace initiative.
On the other hand, the Russian Foreign Minister praised the Russian-Qatari relations, noting that he discussed means of enhancing these relations in various fields in the framework of the agreements reached between the two countries, especially after the recent visit by HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani to Moscow, as well as the continuous contacts between the two leaderships of the two countries.
He underlined that Russia is keen on developing economic relations with Qatar, noting that the meeting of the joint committee for economic and technical cooperation between the two sides in Doha last April, together with the renewal of the Russian-Qatari business council will eventually result in supporting economic cooperation between the two countries.
He also highlighted both countries' keenness on the continuous coordination in the field of energy and oil within the framework of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum, and their increasing interest in cooperation in the field of investments, especially between the Russian Direct Investment Fund and the Qatar Investment Authority, in addition to the continued cultural and scientific cooperation, and the exchange of experiences in the organization of the FIFA World Cup.
The Russian Foreign Minister also highlighted the visit of HE Minister of State for Defense Affairs Dr. Khalid bin Mohammed Al Attiyah to Moscow last week and his meeting with Russian Defense Minister General Sergey Shweigo, where they stressed the importance of developing contacts between the two sides in the military field.
In response to a question on the Iranian and Syrian cooperation, he explained that any bilateral cooperation between two countries that does not violate the principles of the international law should not be a subject of questions. If, however, any party in the Middle East or anywhere in the world plans to violate the international law in a way that undermines sovereignty and divides any state, it will certainly be condemned by Russia.