Paris/ Information Office/ 25 September 2017/ "Despite the attempted assault on the Qatari people, the blockade served as an opportunity for Qatar's citizens to showcase the principles and values in which they believe, which are tolerance and justice. It showed the world what we stand for and what we believe in," HE Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said.
In a symposium held at Institut Francais des Relations Internationales in Paris, HE the Foreign Minister said that the reason behind the Gulf crisis is to impose policies on Qatar, contrary to its principles and values.
To understand this crisis, one must first analyze the tools used to impose the blockade, His Excellency added.
HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani stressed that Qatar wants to destroy terrorism in all ways, adding that Qatar knows that terrorism flourishes in oppressive, closed regimes.
"We have warned, repeatedly, that imposing repression over reform and development, using the law of power instead of the power of law, is detrimental to the global counter terrorism efforts," HE Foreign Minister said, pointing out "This blockade imposed on Qatar is the use of intimidation against our people for political gain."
HE Foreign Minister said that the second weapon used by the blockading countries was the abuse of human rights, as thousands of families have been separated, women from their children, husbands from their wives, students from their right to education. This savage tool was simply used to create social pressure.
Turning a blind eye to the voice of reason and wisdom in resolving differences, the blockading countries announced Draconian laws which included extreme fines and imprisonment . a heartbreaking violation of human rights, His Excellency said, adding that human rights must never be abused for political purposes.
He added that the third weapon used was an anti-Qatar propaganda campaign, saying as the blockading countries demand to shut down one channel, thousands of media outlets have been used to spread false statements, and worst of all, incite hate and violence. Even music, which should be used to unite people, has been used in this crisis to incite hate towards Qatar.
"Today, the blockading countries claim that religion should not be subject to politicization, meanwhile the preachers and imams are being forced to legitimize their blockade against Qatar.
HE Foreign Minister said that this crisis is not about demands or ultimatums but rather about freedom, liberty, and sovereignty, pointing out "International law was set in place to guarantee equality to all states, regardless of their size. A basic principle in accordance with the UN Charter is prohibiting the use of any threat or force or unilateral measures to achieve purposes contrary to the charter."
"Despite the illegal nature of the blockade, the State of Qatar has not retaliated. We continue to pursue a political resolution to the conflict by engaging constructively with Kuwaiti mediation efforts supported by international community," His Excellency said.
"Qatar responded in a timely and positive manner, including presenting its views on proposals of mediation. And instead of addressing their concerns, the blockading countries have developed to reveal objectives beyond what is acceptable in relations between states and the principle of sovereignty, underpinning the international system."
HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said that the threat of the use of force and regime change is a flagrant violation to the fundamental principle of state sovereignty, stressing that the State of Qatar absolutely rejects any form of guardianship and will continue to pursue a policy of independence and peaceful settlement of disputes.
Increasing evidence suggests that the main objective of the blockading countries is to target both Qatar's political sovereignty and economic stability, His Excellency said, adding "Due to the economic difficulties some of these countries are experiencing, the 8th demand of their 13 demands requires Qatar to sign an open cheque with no expiration date."
His Excellency said that Qatar, along with the GCC States, signed the Riyadh Agreement in 2014. "Since then, Qatar and the other states of the GCC has been conducting a periodic review of the compliance of this agreement. Although the agreement clearly outlined an arbitration mechanism, not once was it invoked."
"This is not an embargo, or a boycott, or a series of sanctions. The closing of the only land border and the blocking of the skies constitute these measure as a blockade."
HE Foreign Minister said the Gulf crisis has serious political implications for the region and the world, adding that this crisis is devoted to interfering in the internal affairs of states, thereby violating the rights of peoples and the principles of international law, including the imposition of guardianship over the political decisions of Qatar, intervention in our state's system of government, and the indirect and unwarranted threat of the use of military force.
HE Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said it has been more than 100 days since Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt have announced the blockade. "Overnight, these countries betrayed us, and turned Qatar from an ally that shared fraternal ties and a common destiny, to a country that allegedly supports terrorism."
"This allegation is false. This cybercrime was the first spark that soon escalated to unilateral measures contrary to international laws and regulations. As proved by our intelligence agencies, the American and other designated agencies, this cybercrime has been traced to the blockading countries."
He added it is clear that levelling false accusations, to achieve political and personal objectives, has now become the norm for these countries continuous desire for escalation.
Regarding bilateral relations between Qatar and France, His Excellency said "We will continue to strengthen our economic cooperation with France and our allies towards development. This is due to our political commitment and the long-term strategy of economic prosperity that we all seek." In this regard, HE Foreign Minister pointed out: "Prior to the United Nations General Assembly and on his first foreign visit after the blockade, HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani visited France, Qatar's historic and strategic partner."
"Our relations are based on shared interests and mutual concerns. Together, we have expanded our economic ties, defense capabilities, and most importantly joined efforts in the common goals of peace and security in the Middle East and beyond. Whether as part of the friends of Syria group, or through our commitment to saving religious and ethnic minorities in Iraq, we have stood side by side to solve the region's most intractable conflicts.
"I would like to conclude by taking this opportunity to extend our heartfelt appreciation and gratitude towards the support of France, and in particular the solidarity shown by President Emmanuelle Macron and his call to lift the blockade on our nation last week. We also welcome the invitation by the President to convene a conference in 2018 in Paris to address the root causes of terrorism and ways to combat them. We also hope that the four blockading countries respond to that invitation."