Brussels / Information Office / March 13
HE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani met Wednesday with HE NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, during a visit His Excellency made to NATO headquarters in Brussels.
The meeting focused on enhancing prospects of cooperation between the State of Qatar and NATO, in addition to discussing a number of issues of joint interest.
HE NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg hosted in Brussels HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, who briefed members of the council on the relations between Qatar and NATO and Qatar's policy and vision of the challenges facing the region and how to confront them. HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said that the strategic relationship between the State of Qatar and NATO has reflected positively on peace and security in the Gulf region, the Middle East and the world.
HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs said the State of Qatar appreciates the role of NATO and the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) in achieving this, particularly on common security issues, and strengthening regional and international efforts to achieve global stability and reconstruction in conflict zones.
His Excellency stressed that the relationship between Qatar and NATO is of great importance, and "our meeting today is a testament to our strong desire to strengthen this relationship".
HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs underlined the high value the State of Qatar attaches to our partnership with NATO. "Together, NATO and Qatar developed our regular political dialogue and enhanced our practical cooperation in many ways.
"We focus our cooperation on inter-operability, training and education, cyber defense, energy security, civil emergency planning and crisis management, and the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction," His Excellency added.
Since its accession to the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative, the State of Qatar has spared no effort to promote common security through our framework for consultation, exchange of views and cooperation in the areas of defense arrangements, regional and international efforts to combat terrorism, said HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani.
"Based on our firm belief in the need for cooperation to achieve sustainable security and peace at the regional and international levels, Qatar ratified the NATO Individual Partnership Program, which is a comprehensive framework for cooperation and joint action."
His Excellency added, "Last year, we signed an Agreement on the Security of Information and an Agreement on increasing military and security cooperation, allowing NATO forces and personnel to enter and transit Qatar, and use the Al-Udeid Air Base."
His Excellency said that Qatar contributed to NATO Operation on Unified Protector and to NATO Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan and operated side-by-side in Libya and off the coast of Somalia. "Qatar is determined to be a force for good in the world, and to play an active role in promoting peace."
HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs said the State of Qatar prioritizes preventive diplomacy and mediation at the regional and international levels to resolve disputes through peaceful means and to achieve the peace that we all desire.
He added, "Recent geopolitical events have shown that confronting serious threats and crises in our world requires a collective effort and international, regional and bilateral cooperation."
His Excellency gave insight on Qatar's vision on challenges facing the region and solutions, while highlighting two main collective challenges to peace and security we face today.
HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs said the first challenge is the continuity of conflicts in the Middle East, while the solution is Dialogue and Diplomacy and Cooperation.
He noted, "Like NATO's vision, Qatar is committed to the peaceful resolution of disputes. Based on the firm principles of Qatar's foreign policy and its desire to achieve peace and stability in the region and the international community, we continue to stress the importance of resolving disputes by peaceful means."
His Excellency added, "Security and stability in the Middle East is a cornerstone of international peace and security. The State of Qatar reaffirms its continued support for all international and regional efforts to ensure the success of the political solutions to the crises in Syria, Libya and Yemen in accordance with the resolutions of international community and has called upon all parties to the conflict in these countries to reach a national consensus to stop the bloodshed and achieve the legitimate aspirations of the people, as well as preserve their unity and territorial integrity."
HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said that just as the State of Qatar NATO Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, it is also engaged in diplomatic efforts to facilitate and host mediation between the United States and the Taliban movement.
His Excellency said that the second challenge is the growing threat of cyber-attacks, and highlighted that the solution for this challenge is cooperation to build strong and resilient cyber defenses.
"The world now contends that the risks posed by cybersecurity offenses pose a threat to international peace and security. Electronic piracy has become a means of creating crises and damaging relations between States to achieve special objectives, without taking into account the legal and political responsibility for such crimes. There is no doubt that confronting these crimes requires judicial measures and procedures to punish the perpetrators and ensure that the affected parties have their rights under international law."
In this context, His Excellency pointed out that the current Gulf crisis and the illegal blockade imposed on Qatar, almost two years ago, was the result of a cybercrime and digital espionage. He added the blockade countries have taken unilateral actions against the State of Qatar in a flagrant violation of international law and the rules of inter-State relations, on the pretext of allegations the world found them baseless.
His Excellency added this blockade however has not hindered Qatar's commitment to cooperation under the ICI framework. In fact, Qatar is interested in benefiting from the capabilities in cyber defense and experience of NATO in this field, he said.
"We are looking forward to cooperate on additional programs that strengthen cooperation between Qatar and NATO in the future," His Excellency said.
HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs added the State of Qatar will spare no effort to continue to actively participate with NATO at the level of individual partnership or through the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative for International Peace and Security, by implementing programs to enhance cooperation and coordination between Qatar and NATO.